July 27, 2017

Celebrating Christ at Christmas: Spiritual Wish Lists

*Note: Today I have the honor of guest posting over at The Deliberate Reader. I’m sharing a few of my favorite books for cultivating intimacy with God, as part of Sheila’s “Favorite Books” series.  Make sure you check it out — then come back here; it dovetails perfectly with today’s post!

So far in this series: Observing Advent


2. Spiritual Wish Lists 
(originally shared 12/13/11)

What’s on your Christmas list this year?

No, not your own wish list, the other one. You know — the {long} list of things that your kids want, the {really short} list of ideas from your spouse, the {creative} list of things you’d like to get for your friends or siblings or parents…

I’m guessing they’re all things. But things aren’t what matters most in life.

Sure, it’s fun to go shopping for others! I love figuring out gifts for my family and friends, remembering little things they mention in casual conversation, and surprising them with those things for Christmas. The smile on their face is worth the time {and frustration} spent procuring those items.

But those things only last so long. They fade, rust, and decay. They get lost, stepped on, and forgotten. But what if we gifted what people truly need, not just what they want?

What if we gave gifts
with an eternal significance in mind?

{click to tweet!}

Things that would affect the heart not just the body. Things that improve our spiritual health, not just our physical well-being. How better to celebrate Christ this Christmas?

Here’s 10 ideas for ministering to your loved ones’ spiritual needs this Christmas:

  • Write down some favorite “comfort” verses on pretty index cards. Put them on a key ring or inside a little box. Great stocking stuffer idea!
  • Write out some of the prayers of Paul, substituting your loved one’s name for the generic “you” (such as, I thank my God for every remembrance of Susie Q). Share these in a pretty notebook or journal. Include a heartfelt prayer of your own for their spiritual health and growth, if possible.
  • Make coupons for your kids for “one-on-one prayer/praise time.” And be ready and willing to give that time whenever asked (no matter how “inconvenient” it may seem at the moment!). It will be a blessing to both of you, and will teach them firsthand about making time to minister to others.
  • Arrange for your child to start being mentored by a mature Christian whom they already love and respect (and whom you respect as well).
  • Take your friend/child/family member to a good Christian bookstore (or website) and let them pick out any Christian non-fiction book to help them in their spiritual growth. Don’t think about the price-tag; the spiritual blessings will outweigh any financial sacrifice you make for them.**
  • Check their Bible. Is it old and falling apart? Can you fix it or do they need a new one? How about a study Bible, or a different translation?
  • Consider gifting a nice notebook or journal for taking notes during church, personal Bible study, or prayer time.
  • Become one-on-one prayer partners with a friend or relative. Make sure you are faithful about meeting regularly (in person or even on the phone) and praying together. You will both be blessed by it!
  • Write a heartfelt plea for your unsaved loved one to know Jesus personally. Don’t preach; simply share your salvation testimony and make sure the good news of salvation is clearly explained. Deliver in person, if possible, with something else from the heart (homemade cookies or decorations, perhaps).
  • Offer your most precious commodity: your time. Invite a friend over for a Bible study. Visit a lonely neighbor in the spirit of sharing Christ’s love. Spend extra time at your church after each service, seeking to meet others’ needs, rather than have your own met.

Sure, go ahead and fill those stockings with toys and candy and games. But include some soul-food, some sweets for the spirit, and some spiritual challenges for the mind.

Minister to the unseen desires, the needs that often get overlooked or ignored. Share your prayers and your time, not just your money. Let their needs fill and burden and overwhelm your heart, so you can offer a gift that has a truly lasting benefit.

Celebrate Christ this Christmas:
focus on the wish list of the soul.

{click to tweet this!}

 

QUESTION for YOU: How are you meeting the spiritual needs of someone this Christmas? How do you wish someone could meet your spiritual needs?

 

**If you need some suggestions for good books, check out my post today over at  The Deliberate Reader, where I’m sharing a few of my favorite spiritual growth books. Also, check out my Good Books page for more recommendations.

 


Comments

  1. Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing this with the Thrive @ Home community this week. 🙂

  2. Great ideas! (I tweeted!) Thanks for linking up to Desire to Inspire!

    “Wish List of the Soul” = brilliant thought. 🙂 I’ll be thinking on that for a few days. 🙂

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