I’m excited to share that my latest writing project is a Christmas devotional! The first ever devotional from Realizing Home, a 32 page, downloadable pdf, is free to my monthly newsletter subscribers. This journal-style devotional focuses on six key nativity passages and invites you to make time and space in your holiday busyness for Biblical meditation. Created to make quiet time accessible and meaningful, I pray that “Lingering in Luke” will take you deeper into the Christmas story, and provide a place for you to more intimately connect with Jesus.
A different kind of devotional
This devotional will be quite different from others you have may have used before. There are no daily readings other than scripture and really not much that I myself have written. Instead, this is a Christmas devotional in which you essentially become the writer as you use the prompts to journal your own thoughts and reflections.
The six readings from the gospel of Luke are each divided into five similar steps that you work through at your own pace. No entries with assigned dates to shame you for missing a day! Each step takes about ten to thirty minutes based on how long you decide to “linger”. And lastly, how you decide to divide and work through the steps is entirely up to you.
Rabbit trails are expressly encouraged as you delve into these passages! Let each passage lead you into other verses, other songs and other questions. You and Jesus create your own path for discovery and reflection. Let the Holy Spirit draw you along the quiet wayside with Him.
About the title -“Lingering in Luke”
The gospel of Luke contains a broad base of historical perspectives surrounding the birth of Jesus. Hence, the reason to spend time in this book of the Bible during the Christmas season.
My idea for the word lingering comes from a story of the famous Bible commander – Joshua son of Nun. Joshua took over after Moses in leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land. He and Caleb stood alone trusting in God’s power to deliver against the testimony of ten other spies too fearful to trust that God could help His people prevail against mighty foes. Joshua issued the well-known words, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” (see Joshua 24:15)
But in a little noted passage within a story of Moses, we find a key insight into the nature of this courageous man that speaks to his passion and devotion.
As Moses went into the tent, (the Tent of Meeting where Moses met with God) the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.Exodus 33:9-11 NIV
Where were the others? At the entrance to their tents. Where was Joshua? In the tent! After Moses left, who was still there? Joshua! Here he lingered. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened in the tent after Moses had gone, but Joshua wasn’t following Moses. He was sticking close to the Lord. And his response in remaining in God’s Tent of Meeting speaks volumes about who he was really seeking and serving.
Similarly, I feel deeply that to seek and serve Christ, to really know Him, requires lingering with Him.
A unique devotional style – 5 Steps
This rewarding devotional style is one that I’ve personally developed in my own quiet times to allow for lingering.
Step One -Read and ask questions
First of all, reading carefully and asking questions of the text are key to our learning about any form of literature. Sadly, sometimes Christians forget this very key and basic step when it comes to scripture. Although it may seem irreverent or sacrilegious, biblical example itself gives us permission to draw near to God with our questions. In the book of Job, Job questions God. The psalmists question God. Answers to our questions will never come until we are able to ask them.
I think God longs to reveal himself to us, and so naturally, He wants us to ask Him questions. Lots of questions. Every question is an invitation to His response. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as you read. The answers may not come at once, but they will begin conservations. They will welcome the Holy Spirit’s guidance. They demonstrate your hunger for truth. And they invite fellowship with Jesus.
Step Two – Explore the nature of God
This is a fun step that I love to use! List all the things that the passage says about who God is! Sometimes the text comes right out and states things about God’s character; other times it takes a little hunting and digging deeper to be able to discern who God is revealing Himself to be.
Step Three – Recall related Bible verses
Did I mention rabbit trails? Next is where the journal really takes off and becomes your own. What other verses is the Holy Spirit bringing into your memory as you reflect on the Bible passage and the attributes of God that you just uncovered?
Or if you’re completely stumped, why not do a little research? Instead of verses that are coming to mind, use an online Bible concordance such as BlueLetterBible or Biblegateway to help you track down other passages using the attributes of God that you recorded in Step Two as search words.
Let’s say that you wanted to find more verses about the kindness of God. At BlueLetterBible, a search for “kindness” shows 54 verses to search through! A better seach would be “the kindness of” which gives you 24 verses, but only 12 of them are about God. Go ahead and record two or three in the Christmas devotional, and select your favorite to carry and reflect on.
Step Four – Meditate, memorize and praise
The fourth step involves revisiting the attribute of God you’re studying and the verse you’ve selected. You can choose to memorize the verse or not, but hopefully it will become something that you continue to meditate on.
And what songs celebrate what God is revealing to you? Use the characteristic of God that you have selected, the bible verses you studied, or any other inspiration to guide you into worship through music. If your own mental storehouse of music is limited, feel free to continue your rabbit trail research on YouTube. Type the word “song” or “music” with additional words for your search. If I type in “music God is kind”, I quickly find “Kind” by Cory Asbury, “Good God Almighty” by David Crowder, and “Jesus Strong and Kind” featuring Colin Buchanen. Some selections will probably not be to your taste, but my guess is that you will stumble onto some that are excellent and unexpected.
Step Five – Pray with Thanksgiving
Step Five involves giving thanks in the form of a written prayer for ways that you have personally witnessed and experienced the nature of God that you’ve been reflecting on throughout the other four steps of the Christmas devotional. Through your dip into studying, reflecting, journaling and praise, you’ve most likely been relating God’s character to your own experiencese. This step allows you to acknowledge the Lord’s intervention in your life, praise Him for His goodness, and express gratitude.
Notes to help along the way
Throughout the Christmas devotional, I’ve added brief notes and samples to encourage you in your exploration of the nativity. I’m super excited to use this journal again myself because I know that the experience will be new and different every time.
How do I get this Christmas devotional?
Sign up for my monthy newsletter and receive the “Lingering in Luke” Christmas devotional in your email inbox! Open the link, download and print. Early each month you will receive my newsletter with links to all my most recent posts as well as a link to subscriber gifts like this one. If you’re already a subscriber, your monthly email will have the download link.
And don’t forget to share this post with friends so that they can subscribe as well!