anticipating christmas

Anticipating Christmas and Unwrapping the Gift of Peace

We all have different ways of anticipating Christmas. Just the same, we all have varying levels of reverence, excitement, stress or even dread we feel in reaction to the Christmas build-up and pressurized hype everywhere around us. 

The challenge to find peace at Christmas is real! With all the To Do’s, we have to be intentional about recognizing God’s list of To Give’s and our resulting, magnificent To Receive’s!

So let’s take it all the way back to the scenes just before the first Christmas when the hope for a savior had been building generation to generation and there was nothing that could rival the joy of anticipating Christmas for this cast and crew.  


anticipating Christmas


Anticipating Christmas with the Gospel of Luke

The book or gospel of Luke is often referred to as the Gospel of Peace, which simply means the Good News of Peace.

Luke is the only gospel to not just tell of Joseph’s experience in learning his betrothed had been chosen to carry the Messiah, but also to include Mary’s story.  I cannot be thankful enough that Luke the ahead-of-his time physician and author gave equal weight to the voice of both Joseph and Mary.

Luke also paints a picture of Jesus’s birth and gives us a glimpse of him as a child. It is clear that Luke wanted us to see and know Jesus, not just through a timeline of events, but also as a personal savior.

Moving on to his crucifixion account, the reconciliation promise of Christmas, we get another glimpse into Luke’s mission.  His is the only version that includes Jesus’s request for God to forgive the people as they didn’t know what they were doing, as well as the promise of a paradise reunion with the forgiven criminal (Luke 23:26-43 NIV).

Luke’s gospel of peace seals in our hearts that God’s desire to reconcile us to himself ran so deep, he became us

It is in Luke that we also find the questions asked by Mary and Zechariah after being visited by an angel, as well as the songs they sing in praise. These songs are where we see the first hearts anticipating Christmas


Anticipating Christmas with Advent Meditation

No question, 2020 has been wildly disruptive for all of humanity. 

While Christmas celebrates a past event, Advent gives space to our longing for what’s to come! This Advent 2020 Meditation Series meets each of us in our collective ache, letting us see the world REMADE in the disruptive hope, joy, love, and peace of Christ!

Click the REMADE image below for more info. I hope you’ll join me in protecting this truly beautiful time of year. 

Be blessed!

guided christian meditation


Anticipating Christmas with Zechariah’s Song

We can read Zechariah’s song and story in Luke 1:5-25 & 57-80.

My heart aches for Zechariah. It seems so silly for him to ask the angel for a sign that the promise will come true. But he’s dumbfounded and being in the presence of an angel just wasn’t enough. And boy, is it a sign he gets! At least 9 months of silence, assuming Elizabeth conceived very quickly after this encounter.

I want to give Zechariah the benefit of human doubt. Repeating a prayer like the one he and Elizabeth had prayed for years takes faith. But after the years wear on, that same repetition can dull our expectation and sensitivity to the new things God is doing.

[bctt tweet=”Is it possible the silence given to Zechariah was more of a blessing than disciplinary action? In silence, we are far more sensitive and expectant of God’s daily blessings.” username=”rachelmayew”]

Without the option of blurting something out, the revelations certainly gained clarity. 

Once Zechariah confirms the new baby’s name, his speech returns.  The first recorded words after this long period of silence is Zechariah’s Song, often referred to as the Benedictus.

His song prophecies the story of his son and the relationship he’ll have with Jesus. 

Zechariah glorifies God because of:

  • His arrival on the scene!
    • though Jesus was yet to be born and it was years before the Easter story, Zechariah knew this was the season of redemption
  • The impending fulfillment of God’s promises
    • I love that in anticipating Christmas, Zechariah uses future-based “to” statements
      • to show, to remember, to rescue, to enable us to serve God without fear
  • His baby boy’s miraculous arrival and that God would use him as a forerunner spreading the gospel of real peace and mercy.


Anticipating Christmas with Mary’s Song of Praise

Read Luke 1:26-45

I love Mary’s faith and resilience in the face of life-changing news. There is no guarantee of how this news will be received by her soon to be husband, not to mention her parents or the community at large.

She doesn’t stop to argue with God about why it’s being done this way or whether this is a good idea. Mary is thankful to be part of God’s plan and simply asks how it will happen. She then affirms God’s power by essentially saying ‘so be it’. 

During this visit, Mary also learns that her cousin Elizabeth, though very old, is 6 months pregnant. Mary quickly decides to visit Elizabeth. Proof that community was and always will be of great importance!

Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and gained knowledge of Mary’s news.

In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:41-45 (NIV)

How beautiful and gracious of God to give Mary further confirmation of her calling.

Let’s resolve to follow Elizabeth’s example and affirm our sisters’ identities in Christ more often in the new year!

Mary’s Song of Praise is found in Luke 1:46-56. Often referred to as the Magnificat, her spontaneous praise and worship tie her present state to the promises of God.  

Mary glorifies God by recounting:

  • his mindfulness of her
  • his ongoing mercy
  • his mighty deeds of the past
  • all of this is done with a significant focus on God keeping the promises made to Abraham

Mary claims this miracle in her belly as one more mercy, one more mighty deed that will bless all generations. Here we also see the first recording of someone referring to Jesus as Savior. Mary not only feels reverence for God’s faithfulness, but she starts out her song bursting with joy over a connection to a personal savior.

This is what everyone had been waiting for! God’s presence was undeniable for these two faithful women as they greeted each other and immediately delighted in Him


Anticipating Christmas with Advent Meditation 



christmas carol devotional

You may also enjoy….. 

This Christmas Carol Devotional, inspired by the popular and lesser-known lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” will kindle your spirit this season!

Then wrap yourself in holiday affirmations from other carols to keep the fire burning!

Merry Christmas from Holistic Faith Lifestyle. 


Anticipating Christmas and the Challenge of Peace

We can learn a lot about unwrapping the gift of peace at Christmas from these two stories. They run alongside each other, but each stand on their own with individual questions, fears, and focuses. 

Whether we look at what God has done for us or others in the past, or whether we’re focused on what’s to come, the challenge of peace is answered in God’s presence.  

Review John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

And Luke 2:19

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

[bctt tweet=”Can we get still enough this season to treasure and ponder like Mary and be silent like Zechariah? If so, we’ll spark an obedient trust that this gift of peace is relevant for us, too.” username=”rachelmayew”]

The promise of Christmas includes the gift of peace. 

All we have to do is receive, unwrap and lean in.  If that sounds too pie in the sky, it’s because this is real peace and it is truly out of this world.  There is nothing that compares to it, nothing that can destroy it and nothing we can do to replicate it. 

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  1. This is really good! Very encouraging and, of course, charming:) I loved reading the rest of the Hark lyrics, too. The most popular version cuts it off way too soon.

    1. Thanks, so much. I’m excited to read your Christmas piece this morning!
      And agreed on those Hark! lyrics…I try to settle on a favorite verse but just can’t quite do it. Mild he lays his glory by is my fave from the already known lyrics. But the references to Adam, ruined nature, crushing the serpent, reinstatement, mystic union, they paint such a beautiful timeline of God’s love and plan for us from the start.

  2. This is lovely. I love the call to affirm our sisters identity in Christ. This was my devotion this morning and I am praying for peace for you and your family this precious season.

    1. Thanks, so much! I love your intentional focus on settling in & wrapping yourself in his love & peace as you anticipate Christmas! All my best to you & yours!

  3. You are such a wonderful writer! I love reading your posts on Scripture because it really helps me put the verses to use in real life. Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Not because of the gifts and decor but because of the real reason – the birth of our Savior!

    1. Oh, LeeAnn! Thank you so much for AFFIRMING me as a writer that helps to gain a new or different perspective. I do feel the more consistently we read, the more relevant the Spirit makes it in our lives. God’s words never grow old! I wish you and your sweet family (human & pups!) a very peaceful, Christmas with all things merry & bright! ❤️

  4. I love this Rachel! We are reading through the Book of Luke this month and hoping for God to help us make room in our hearts for Him as we do so. ❤ I love how you write and always look forward to your next post!

    1. Thanks, Donna! Reading Luke is a great commitment this time of year! I haven’t made an “official” Advent reading plan, but I think I will follow your lead! I think that would be a big support in anticipating Christmas with renewed hope and faith in the ongoing trials. Thanks for the encouragement! Merry Christmas, to you and yours!

  5. I am loving this post! One of my favorite parts “But after the years wear on, that same repetition can dull our expectation and sensitivity to the new things God is doing.” This is so true! We repeat our prayer over and over and eventually somewhere along the lines lose the hope that God will answer. Thank you for bringing our hearts back to hope. Thank you for looking at each story and walking us through it!

    1. Thanks, Stacey! It’s definitely been true for me! Just like you said, we lose hope. I’ve found staying in the Word and being in a community of women that encourages spiritual growth and commits to praying for one another is a great help in keeping fresh perspective on old prayers. And that just trickles into anticipating Christmas and enjoying Advent that much more! I hope you have a blessed Christmas season!

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