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As soon as we finish the Thanksgiving celebrations, we welcome my favorite holiday, Christmas. In the last days of November and the first week of December, it is like we turned the Christmas switch on; even our radio music gets flooded with the Christmas spirit. That famous song phrase "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." comes alive in our daily lives filling our hearts with joy and warmth.

Quickly after Thanksgiving, we go into Christmas mode, making plans and all the gift-buying and all plans to celebrate the holidays. Yes, maybe we are well prepared with the gifts, decorations, and plans, but are we preparing ourselves for the most valuable part of this holiday? Christmas is not all about the presents; Christmas is all about Jesus Christ and welcoming Him into our lives. Are we prepared to receive Him? Are we willing to surrender our lives to Him?

Knowing how important it is to prepare our hearts for Christmas, we want to share five ways to prepare your heart.

1. Spend time reading and studying God's Word- There are multiple Advent reading plans that you can search online that would help you with powerful and meaningful studies to prepare yourself for Christmas.

2. Practice teaching your children and teens a Bible Verse daily- There are great Advent Calendars you can buy, and you can put a bible verse and a treat on each day for you and your child to discover.

3. Give, Give, Give- A great way to prepare your heart for Christmas is by giving, not just by receiving. You can prepare bags for the neighbors, prepare care packages for the homeless or invite someone to a hot cocoa or a warm dinner.

4. Seek time alone with God- Rest in His presence.

5. Concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas- Meditate about what the celebrations are all about, and do not let the frenzy of the holidays make you forget what is essential.

We need to take a breath and remember that Christmas is not what consumerism and society have made of it; Christmas is the time to remember the birth of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. It is the time to acknowledge Him, receive Him in our lives, and surrender every area to Him. Yes, we know that December 25 is not an exact date, but it is the date we chose to celebrate the birth of the One that gifted us with Eternal Life by redeeming us of our faults and sins even when we do not deserve it. Please do not get caught up and distracted in the middle of the controversy; that's the enemy's plan all along, depriving us of receiving the best Christmas gift. Let's prepare our hearts to receive the greatest blessings. Let's fill ourselves with the Light that is Jesus Christ!

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