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PLI is devoted to empowering leaders for wider influence for the sake of the gospel in their communities and effective leadership in their ministries. Learn more about our vision and process here.


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Stop Doing Christmas… A PLI Christmas Gift

I bet you are doing Christmas right now. I bet you’re doing the impossible dance of December. A mashup of all the “normal” tasks with the added pile of Advent extras. Sure, our motives are meaningful and our intentions are true. But somewhere in between the services and sermons, the purchases and parties, the baking and bustling, we get a little lost. In the desire to “do Christmas” comes the realization that, “I probably didn’t.”

The real “doing” of Christmas is in the “being” moments. The pausing and pondering of this God baby gift that has come to earth because of love. For you. No assembly required. No strings attached. No sell by date or mail in rebate. This. Is. A. Gift. Here is your Christmas. Jesus.

In John 10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” He comes to you, fully giving you the full life. He does the “doing” of Christmas so we don’t have to.

A few years ago my two kids, then 3 and 5, were playing with our nativity sets. I looked over and saw all the Josephs, Marys, shepherds, animals and a few Little People thrown in the mix, all crowded around the baby Jesus who was laying in the manger in the center of the stable. That image sucked out my breath. Beautiful and perfect. Here was this picture of the exact right thing to be doing at Christmas. Correction… not doing …”being” at Christmas. In that moment I desired to be one of those poorly painted plastic figures who were celebrating Christmas by being with Jesus. Crowd around Him, feel His love and being.

Simon Peter seems to have gotten it right in John 6:8, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” Where else would we want to be this season?

So here’s PLI’s Christmas gift to you: Take time out of your “doing” and spend some sacred moments being with your Savior.

Go. Right now. To a quiet place. By your Christmas tree, in a closet. To the sanctuary, where no one is around, plug in the decorations and worship. Experience the Christmas joy of being with your Savior. Here are some songs to sing, here is some Scripture to read. Dwell here. Be still. Know the baby came for you. This is Christmas. May it be Merry.

from the PLI Team
(written by Sarah Greiner)

Read Isaiah 40

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass,
and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.”
You who bring good news to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Ponder and Pray:  Where do you need God to bring you comfort?  Ask Him for comfort and joy in this area of your life.


Read Luke 2:8-15

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Ponder and Pray:  What is good news for you this season?  Thank God for the ultimate good news of salvation.

Read: Psalm 95

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Ponder and Pray: Joy in the Lord with all your heart. Give Him praise, thanks and adoration.

Read Luke 2:1-7

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Ponder and Pray: Kneel down, bow your head, whatever seems appropriate to you. Now dwell at the manger in worship of your King.

Pray: Jesus, as we remember your birth in Bethlehem, help us share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Forgive us when we do rather than be. May Christmas morning make us joyful to be your children, and Christmas evening make us grateful to be forgiven and blessed.


Print this off, take it home and worship with your family. Forward this to a friend who needs to experience Christmas too.

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