How to Hear God's Voice This Christmas

woman smiling at candles at christmas, how to hear god's voice this christmas

Swept up in the hype?

If you walk through any town or city centre right now, you can’t fail to notice the Christmas build-up—the festive lights and window displays, and the endless sales and promotions. 

It’s literally a six-week, full-on assault on the senses, and it seems as if the marketing only gets bigger and bolder with every passing year.

Even those under a temporary coronavirus stay-at-home order aren’t immune from it, since they’re still getting bombarded by endless festive TV adverts, online marketing, and mail shots through the door.

Is it any wonder that often it feels like the reality of Christmas never quite lives up to all the hype?

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Dragon Images

  • <strong>Weighed down by expectation?</strong>

    Weighed down by expectation?


    Many of us also have a huge list of things that we need to get done before December 24th; gifts to shop for, homes to decorate, presents to wrap, cards to send, meals to cook, outings to organise, and family to host. Sometimes it can be hard not to get completely lost in the busyness of the season, can’t it?

    As if that’s not enough, many of us now live with the added pressure of trying to make every moment of it feel sparkly, magical and Instagram-worthy too, as if every scene has just been lifted straight out of a Christmas catalogue.

    And, at what cost? Did you know that shoppers in the US rack up an average of $1,054 of credit and store card debt in the run up to Christmas just to help them pay for that ever-illusive ‘perfect’ Christmas experience - a debt that they’ll then be paying off for at least 3-6 months of the coming year!

    I can’t help feeling that when Jesus was born in a humble manger that very first Christmas, this isn’t quite what He had in mind for us. Aren’t we missing something important here?

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Grinvalds

  • advent prayers candles

    Making Space for God


    In the midst of all the marketing noise and seasonal busyness and desire to make every moment as perfect as possible, for me these words of Jesus cut right to the very heart of the matter: 

    “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36, NIV)

    I love this verse because it reminds me that it doesn’t actually matter how pretty my house looks, how happy my family appears from the outside, or how much cool stuff I give or receive this Christmastime, if it costs me the health of my soul in the process. The trade-off is simply never worth it.

    And all of my best-laid plans and well-meaning intentions are completely meaningless if, at the end of the Christmas season, I realise that I have missed the main event, simply because I’ve not actually made any space for Him in my heart or my home or my calendar.

    That’s why I really want to approach this December with more intentionality, making that beautiful Christmas message that He is Emmanuel, the God who chooses to draw near to us, my central focus. 

    6 Ways to Hear & Experience God This Christmas

    But whilst good intentions are a start, they only go so far. That’s why this year I’ve come up with 6 simple ways to make space for God’s voice and presence in my life and my family this Christmas. Why not try them too?

    Photo Credit: © SWN

  • Dad and daughter reading together at Christmas

    1. Spend Time in the Christmas Story


    ‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ (Psalm 119:105)

    Why not commit to reading a bit of the Christmas story each morning as a focus for your day? It doesn’t need to be a huge time commitment; just ten or fifteen minutes of reading and reflecting on Scripture with a coffee at the start of your day can be enough time. Simply pray and invite him to speak to you before you start.

    There’s plenty of Bible study plans and interactive resources you can buy to guide you, but you don’t have to spend lots of money. You could keep it as simple as reading a chapter of the Gospel of Luke each day—with 24 chapters in total it fits almost perfectly into advent! 

    If you have small children, you could consider reading through the Christmas story during bedtime stories too. Even if the story is very familiar to you, seeing it through a child’s eyes can often reveal something brand new.

    2. Light an Advent Candle over Evening Meals 

    “Come near to God, and He will come near to you” (James 4:8)

    The practice of regularly lighting an advent candle over an evening family meal table can be a great focal point for increasing your awareness of God’s presence in the run up to Christmas.

    You could choose to do this each advent Sunday using an advent wreath with four candles, or to do it daily if you have an advent candle marked with each date.  Either way, this simple act can be a wonderful physical reminder to make space for him at our tables, in our conversations and our lives. You could also opt to read some Scripture or pray together too. 

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/bernardbodo

  • woman with blanket reading by fireplace first Sunday of Advent

    3. Practice Gratitude Daily


    “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4

    One of the most helpful ways I have found to combat the effects of all the seasonal marketing on my soul and stay centered on what really matters is by practising proactive gratitude each day during advent. 

    Personally, I tend to do this in my journal by noting down anything I am grateful to God for each night before I go to sleep. But if you have children you could also get the whole family involved by keeping a gratitude jar too. Simply get each family member to write down one thing they are thankful for each day on a slip of paper, and then open it up together on Christmas Eve. 

    You’ll quickly be amazed at how much you have to be grateful for, and perhaps you’ll discover that the very act of being thankful opens the gateway for experiencing more of His presence in your everyday life.

    4. Spend Time Serving Others

    “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)

    Another great way to journey deeper into God’s heart and to hear his voice this Christmastime is by following his example as the servant king. So why not start the season off with some simple practical acts of kindness and giving? 

    That could be something as simple as making some Christmas cookies with the kids and dropping them round to your neighbours, dropping off some warm clothing to a homeless charity, or buying some extra food at the supermarket to donate to a local foodbank for families who might be struggling this year. 

    If you have young children, try to involve them too as a reminder that Christmas isn’t just about getting new toys! It’s about a message of love, and as we demonstrate the love of God to others, we often encounter it more deeply in our own hearts too.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Deagreez

  • senior woman relaxing on floor with candles reading Bible

    5. Embrace Some Still, Silent Moments


    “Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matt 13:9)

    One of the reasons we can miss the voice of God in our lives is because there’s simply too much other noise. And if that’s true year round, it’s often especially true over Christmas when there’s so many other festive distractions all vying for our attention. 

    Yet one of the things that the Christmas story demonstrates is that ordinary people, like a young girl, a carpenter, some shepherds in a field, and some wise men gazing at stars, can each encounter God in incredible ways when they make room to sit with stillness and space.

    Embracing stillness and silence may not be something we find easy these days, but we need to learn this discipline if we really want to encounter God’s voice. So why not start small? Try spending just a few minutes in your day being completely still and silent before God—no words, and no agenda. Just hold space for his presence.

    6. Worshipping Together with Others

    “Oh come, let us worship and bow down” (Psalm 95: 6)

    Gathering together to worship Jesus with other believers may be the single most important thing we do as christians at Christmas time, because it brings us into the presence of God and allows other believers to speak God’s truth to us too.

    And whilst local restrictions and stay at home orders might make large gatherings such as Christmas carol concerts, church services, and nativity plays difficult this year, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how to think creatively!

    So don’t miss the chance to gather with others to celebrate corporately or spend time fellowshipping with other believers this season. There’s still plenty of online and drive-in services happening, and you could also organise some smaller scale gatherings with a handful of friends and family too.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Halfpoint

    Anna Kettle iBelieve writer authorAnna Kettle is an experienced christian writer, blogger, speaker, and a multi award-winning marketing professional. Her first book, ‘Sand Between Your Toes: Inspirations for a Slower, Simpler, More Soulful Life’ releases in Spring 2021 under Tyndale House, and is available for pre-order now. 

    You can also find her regularly writing on a range of issues close to her heart at: www.annakettle.com including parenting, faith, creativity, social justice, and holding onto hope when things are hard. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.