Our Christmas Eve Rundown

How will you be celebrating Jesus this Christmas season? It’s important that my family keep Christ at the center of Christmas, so what better way to help us keep our focus on Him, than to throw a birthday party for the Prince of Peace! Need some ideas for how to do this? Here’s the rundown for our Christmas Eve:

-Bake and frost a birthday cake for Jesus, then sing Him Happy Birthday.

-Play Nativity Bingo and a special Christmas edition Scattergories that includes Christ-centered categories I whipped up quickly on the computer.

-Write down a gift we can each give Jesus this year. (You can download the free printable I created below).

-Make and share a meal of Shepherd’s Pie. (I thought that was fitting for this evening).

-Read the Christmas Story together.

-Sing Christmas Carols in our living room, worshiping the King. A few on my list are: O’ Come Let Us Adore Him, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Hark the Harold Angels Sing, O Holy Night, and Away in a Manger.

-Open our stockings filled with little notes. We started a new tradition of Christmas Kindness Notes in December. Each day leading up to Christmas, we wrote something we loved or appreciated about each person in our family. This was not my idea, but I did find something similar on Pinterest. I created my own notes that we printed out and wrote on. (You can download the free printable I created below).

-Snuggle up in our new jams, watch a Christian Christmas movie or show together, and fill up at the hot chocolate bar. I always buy and wrap up new pajamas for everyone in our family to open on Christmas Eve. After opening our new jams, we’ll get cozy and dig into the hot chocolate bar I’ll set up with various hot cocoa toppings-crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and candy cane stir sticks. Next, we’ll watch the Chosen Special Christmas Episode. If we hadn’t already watched The Star, I would have opted for that movie. For family’s with older children, The Nativity would be an excellent choice.

And that’s the plan for our ‘night before Christmas’. I will be taking a short break from writing until after December 25th. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Fuel Your Walk Friday

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk, so I’ve decided to start something new on my blog called “Fuel Your Walk Friday”. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa joe and get comfy as you let these first thoughts percolate in your mind:

He has given us the gift of the present so, what if this Christmas season, instead of worrying about the perfectly planned Christmas and giving the best earthly gifts, our present to those we love is our presence? Who will you slow down and be present for this Christmas? Most importantly though, will you slow down enough to be present for Jesus? And will you allow Him to fill you with His presence? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

© 2020 Aimee Phillippi

Trust Fall

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to my Father, the Creator of everything on heaven and on earth.-Ephesians 3:14

Are you weary? Are you carrying heavy burdens right now, like I am? Are you struggling with stress or anxiety, even when you try so hard to keep your eyes fixed on Him? Tonight, as I listened to some Christmas music while completing the day’s homeschool tasks, these words spoke to my heart-“fall on your knees”. Fall on your knees, loved one, and come to Him. He wants to fill you with His peace so you can carry on. Take a few moments to bow down and breathe. Press pause. Drop to your knees and spill out your heart. He is the Great Comforter and His ear is all yours.

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” -James 4:10

Be Still

Do you ever get to the point where you are feeling so burnt out? I’m talking really, really tired? Today, the stress didn’t even come knocking. Instead, it slipped right in the front door without me being aware. By the time I realized it, I was drained. I wasn’t walking in the Spirit. Thoughts of daily tasks and chores needing to be completed, along with the extra Christmas planning, were running through my mind. This evening, I took a few minutes to myself and God spoke to my heart. During that time, He told me to be still.

Are you too, needing rest this Christmas season? If so, we need only be still. Be still and soak up His presence, His peace and His love. Let’s draw on the One that will replenish us. Are you weary and carrying heavy burdens tonight? We can lay them all at the feet of Jesus-all the overwhelming thoughts, all those to-do’s that we desperately want crossed off our lists, tomorrow-all of it. Lay it all at His feet and immerse yourself in Him. We can lean on Him and we can lean into Him, we need only be still. Ask Him tonight to help you quiet all those thoughts and to fill you with His peace, then wrap yourselves in His everlasting arms. Resting in Him, He will lead us beside still waters.

He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and quiet waters. He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. -Psalms 23:2-3 (AMP)

10 Verses to Keep the Stress at Bay This Christmas Season

With Christmas around the corner, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays at our feet, things can get stressful quickly if we aren’t careful. And this year, with Covid-19, the way we celebrate may be different. Life is already hard and when we have to find new ways of doing things, it can be even more difficult. Here are 10 verses to remind us that the Christmas season need not be stressful. Meditate on these often to help you get through in one “peace”:

1. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalm 55:22

2. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.-Psalm 16:8

3. I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.-Jeremiah 31:25

4. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. -Colossians 3:2

5. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. -Matthew 6:34

6. Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his face always- 1 Chronicles 16:11

7. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I don’t give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27

8. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me. -Psalms 63:7-8

9. The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” -Exodus 33:14

10. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. -Psalm 29:11

20 Christmas Songs that You Will Definitely Want to Add to Your Christmas Playlist

What’s on your Christmas playlist this year? Last night, I listened to several Christmas songs. Many of these I had never heard before, but are by some of my favorite artists. Carefully selecting each song, I came up with an amazing playlist that I think you might just love. I challenge you to listen to the entire playlist and let me know what you think.

  1. Into the Silent Night-For King and Country
  2. Mary, Did You Know?-Pentatonix
  3. Born is the King (It’s Christmas)-Hillsong
  4. The Heart of Christmas-Matthew West
  5. Noel (featuring Lauren Daigle)-Chris Tomlin
  6. Glorious-For King and Country
  7. Christmas Day-Chris Tomlin and We The Kingdom
  8. Light of the World-Lauren Daigle
  9. Away in a Manger-Jeremy Camp
  10. Hope was Born This Night-Sidewalk Prophets
  11. Joy to the World-Hillsong
  12. Baby Boy-For King and Country
  13. Come to Jesus-People of the Earth
  14. Oh Come All Ye Faithful-Red Rocks Worship
  15. Hey Moon-Sidewalk Prophets
  16. Hallelujah-Pentatonix
  17. O Holy Night-Group 1 Crew
  18. Rest (The Song of the Innkeeper)-Jason Gray
  19. When Hope Came Down-Kari Jobe
  20. Redemption Song-Mikeschair

ABC’s of a Christ-Centered Christmas

Aim your eyes at Him and you will experience the joy that only He can give.

Be Merry by rejoicing in His goodness!

Come to Him as you are, frazzled and all. He doesn’t care. He just wants you, 

Do everything as if you are doing it for the Lord-all the shopping, all the wrapping, all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the honey-do lists-all of it.

Every good thing in your life, thank Him for. Make a gratitude garland by cutting out paper shaped Christmas lights, coloring them, and writing down something you are thankful for each day on the individual lights.

Find others to serve. Someone is always in need. 

Give with a cheerful heart. This year, cheerfully give a gift to your least favorite person.

Have a birthday party for Jesus and don’t forget to bake Him a cake!

Illuminate others through acts of kindness, like filling Christmas socks full of candy, tying them with shiny ribbon, attaching a Christmas verse and dropping them at your neighbor’s doorstep.

Jam to Christian Christmas music. Hillsong, For King and Country, and Matthew West are some of my faves. Pentatonix also has some amazing Christian Christmas songs.

Keep Him at the center of your celebrations. Pray before meals and have each person thank Jesus for something or pass around the Christmas story and have each family member read a short section. 

Love with all your heart. Don’t hold back.

Make memories with crafts, games, and stories that include Jesus. Pinterest has many nativity crafts and ornaments that are fun to make. 

Nurture your relationship with Jesus by making time for Him, and wrap yourself in His peace. 

Order faith-based Christian gifts for others or better yet, make something and attach a card with something you love or appreciate about them.

Pray for a friend or family member. There are a lot of people struggling right now.  

Quench your thirst by reading the Word. Hop onto the YouVersion Bible app and begin a Christmas devotional.

Rest in Him by setting aside moments throughout each day where you pause, close your eyes and breathe in His peace.

Seek Him in everything you do and commit all your plans to Him. He will help you to not burn out.  

Teach someone about Jesus’s love by telling them what He has done in your life. 

Use Jesus as the talking point in your conversations. Be bold and bring others to Christ. 

View forgiveness as a gift to not only the other person, but yourself, and forgive someone who hurt you. Give yourself and someone else the gift of forgiveness this Christmas!

Worship the Prince of Peace by praising Him, singing to Him and dancing in His presence.   

eXplain the Christmas story to a neighbor or friend. 

Yield to Him. Surrender it all-all your stress, all the busyness, all your hurts and hangups-bring it all to Him. 

Zap any negativity as soon as it enters your mind. Change the channel in your head to more positive thoughts by thinking about what is lovely, beautiful and true.

One Big Package

For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. -Philippians 4:11

Let’s talk about being content. How can we be content when we are in situations or circumstances that make us feel otherwise?

We do it with through Him. In Philippians 4:13, Paul explains that he is able to be content no matter the circumstances through him who gives me strength. When we prayerfully present our requests to God and ask for the strength, He will empower us. He wants us to be content and we can, in His strength.

I recently came across a quote by BJ Thompson that I’ve been pondering: “Until Jesus is enough nothing else will be.” Maybe the reason we aren’t content is because we weren’t created to be content without Him. Without Him, we are restless. Nothing in this world will ever satisfy us like He does. And until we let Him fill us, we will never be wholly content. We must drink from the water, in order to never be thirsty. If we are thirsting, we aren’t replenishing our souls. If we are reaching for earthly distractions to give us pleasure, we aren’t knocking back enough of Jesus. If we are looking for love or other people to meet all of our needs, we aren’t consuming enough of Him. If we are grasping at the next big toy or gadget we think will fulfill us, we aren’t drinking from the Well. Only He can fill us the way that we truly desire. And what is it that we truly desire? To fill that God-shaped hole-that void that only He can.

I was in the Word again tonight, reading Psalm 16 and what spoke to me immediately was in your presence there is fullness of joy. In His presence, there is joy. There’s not a little, there is fullness. He will fill us up to the brim with joy! What an incredible blessing! In His presence, we can be content because He is all we need. When we continually set the Lord before us, and we walk in His presence through every circumstance, we can have that joy. It’s ours and it’s His gift to us. Not only that, but we can know that He is right there with us in every situation and we need not be moved. In fact, Psalm 16 says we shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. We can breathe, and rest assured that He’s got us-no matter what life tosses us. We can be still and know that He is God. And when we remain in His presence, there is joy and contentment waiting there for us. We just need to grab hold of Him and hang onto Him through it all because He will never leave or forsake us.

What else can we do? Luke 12:15 says to watch out and be on guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in abundance of possessions. Truly living life is being in the present, in His presence, wherever we are because our abundance will only be found in Him. It’s not found in possessions. Possessions are of this world and His followers are not.

So this Christmas season, let’s remain in His presence, remembering that He is our present. He is the only One that can fill us with the contentedness we wholeheartedly yearn for. And no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in, we will not be shaken if we have Him by our side. For He is our peace, hope, and joy all wrapped into one big package. He is the ultimate gift.

But godliness actually is a source of great gain when accompanied by contentment [that contentment which comes from a sense of inner confidence based on the sufficiency of God].-1 Timothy 6:6 (AMP)