10 Practical Ideas for a More Christ-Centered Christmas


A Christ-centered Christmas is a Christmas that (1) keeps the incarnation of Christ for us and for our salvation at the center and (2) reflects the mind of Christ as revealed in his life and ministry. Here are a few practical suggestions:

  1. Learn more about the incarnation by reading classic but accessible works like On the Incarnation by Athanasius or Cur Deus Homo by Anselm.
  2. More carefully study the Gospels’ birth narratives using a commentary or meditative book like The First Days of Jesus: The Story of the Incarnation by Köstenberger and Stewart.
  3. Observe Advent with your church and/or family by using an Advent wreath, Advent calendar, and Advent reading plan/devotional such as the one at Christianity Today (“Advent: Living Hope”). You can also find daily readings in the Revised Common Lectionary or Book of Common Prayer (“Table of Contents” → “Daily Office Lectionary” “Advent”).
  4. Do a special Bible book study (e.g., of the Book of Isaiah using Tony Reinke’s Isaiah Christmas).
  5. Keep Christ-centered Christmas music playing in your home throughout the season (see the Holy Joys Advent Playlist now on Spotify).
  6. Be Christ to someone else this Christmas season, and do this intentionally by putting together a “Service Plan,” e.g., with a few good works each week, whether it’s baking bread for your neighbors, carrying them a meal, or visiting a shut-in.
  7. Get a group together to go Christmas caroling and leave behind small gifts in the name of Christ (e.g., a few baked goods and an Advent devotional or ESV Economy Bible with the Gospels bookmarked using a Christmas gospel tract).
  8. Find someone who will be alone for Christmas and invite them to join your family for Christmas or at least a special meal.
  9. Set a limit on how much you will spend on gifts and, if needed, cut back your regular spending so that you can make a donation to a ministry or charity. As a gift, you can make a donation to a ministry or charity in someone’s name.
  10. Remember that Christmas is a holy day. Make it a joyful and spiritual one. On Christmas morning, set aside time for family worship before opening gifts. Read the Christmas story, pray, sing a carol, etc. Talk about Christ. Go to a Christmas or Christmas Eve service if your church (or one in your community) has one.
Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold is a husband, father, and aspiring pastor-theologian, as well as the founder and president of holyjoys.org. You can connect with him on Twitter @jsarnold7.