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Last year in this post I shared twelve gifts that would add meaning to your Christmas gift-giving. I thought I would try to make this an annual tradition because, if you’re like me, you need all the suggestions you can get. Plus, I am always looking for gifts that inspire and encourage us in our walk with the Lord. Some of these do that, and some of them are just things I like. So here goes…
- This past summer my husband and I went to a student conference where we taught from the book Christ in Culture by Dr. Holly Brand. The book is simple but profound. It covers 36 topics intrinsic to culture (such as sin, modesty, pornography, purpose, etc.). Dr. Brand goes through each topic and lists what the culture says about these things and what God’s Word says about these things. Then she gives a whole page of Scripture references. Yes, this book is great for the teens in your life, but every adult you know could also benefit from this valuable tool.
- For the women in your life, how about a girlfriend weekend where you can have fun AND get into the Word of God together? One of the best women’s conferences I have attended over the years is Women in Worship. The next one is in January 2020 and the topic is Impacting the Culture with Christ. And guess who the keynote speaker is? Dr. Holly Brand, author of the book mentioned above in #1! Women in Worship 2020 is in picturesque Fairhope, AL, and is the perfect getaway for you and your mom, sisters, and girlfriends!
- A friend of mine introduced me to the ESV Scripture Journals. The description from the publisher describes them this way: “ESV Scripture Journals pair the text of individual books of the Bible with lightly lined blank pages opposite each page of biblical text. This allows readers to take extended notes or record insights and prayers directly beside corresponding passages of Scripture. This edition is great for personal Bible reading and reflection, small-group study, or taking notes through a sermon series.” You can buy them in Old Testament or New Testament sets, as individual books, or the whole Bible set. Someone on my list is definitely getting these, but I’m not saying who!
- I just finished The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren. It’s a little book filled with big truths. Sometimes it seems like the true purpose of Christmas has been drowned out by noise and busyness. This book brings us back to the real reason we celebrate this holiday. Tuck it into a gift basket of Christmas goodies or tie a ribbon around it and gift it to your neighbors. There’s also a 3-session study with dvd and study guide for small groups. I’ve done it and it’s wonderful.
- I can’t make a list of my favorite things without including a daily devotional. Although not the same as in-depth Bible study, reading an excerpt from a daily devotional is a part of my morning quiet time. I don’t know about you, but my brain is not fully functional very early in the morning. So a brief, meaningful devotional reading gets my day off to a great start. Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby is one of my perennial favorites. I’ve read through it several times, and it never gets old. They share so much wisdom. If your recipient is anything like me, you might want to include a highlighter with this gift!
- Speaking of highlighters, these are my favorite. They don’t bleed through the thin pages of my Bible like traditional highlighters, and they don’t fade like the erasable highlighters.
- For one of my favorite gifts for any occasion, I head over to Etsy.com for original digital art. There are some beautiful options available for $5 or less. These high resolution files can be printed out on matte paper and framed or put on one of the many options offered by Walgreens.com. (No deal with Walgreens here. I just love their photo service and use it often from the comfort of my phone or computer! I even use it to send my mom, who lives in another state, pictures that she wants printed out. I choose the location nearest her house, and she picks her prints up in an hour.) This digital artwork would be beautiful framed but also printed onto a pillow, coffee mug, or Christmas ornament.
- Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days by Kay Arthur is a wonderful book for both adults and teens on your list. Arthur uses principles from the passage where Jesus teaches His disciples to pray to teach readers how to pray effectively and biblically. It is designed as a 4-week study, but it can also be used as a daily devotional or as a small group study (there are questions for discussion at the end of each chapter). There is a lovely new edition with a Milano Softone cover available only from Precept Ministries here.
- As a Bible teacher, students are always asking me about my favorite pens and pencils for doing inductive Bible study. In this post I shared my absolute favorites for marking the text. You definitely need a good case to house all of those exceptional writing utensils. This one is a new favorite of mine. And I’m in love with the colors that this one comes in.
- There is no greater gift you can give the children in your life than the skills to study the Bible for themselves. How to Study Your Bible for Kids by Kay Arthur and Janna Arndt is the perfect place to start. (Adults have even been known to benefit from this simple-to-understand guide to Bible study.)
- There is no way I can make a list of my favorite gifts without including a Bible. No changes from last year – this is my all-time favorite study Bible. It is like having 66 Bible study workbooks in one volume. (It is also available in ESV.) At the beginning of each book, there are instructions on how to do an overview of that book. At the end of each chapter is an At a Glance chart that, once filled out, becomes a valuable reference tool. It’s the only Bible I recommend. If you’d like a free class on how to study your Bible, listen here.
- Most of us really don’t need anything for Christmas (or any other time, if we’re honest). We have so much more than we need. If you have someone on your list that truly doesn’t need or want anything (like my dad!), then check out the Christmas gift catalogs at these worthy organizations: Hope and Help International, Samaritan’s Purse, and Open Doors USA. These gifts are especially meaningful because they can literally change the lives of the people who receive them.
I hope these suggestions help you check off your list of gifts this Christmas. Most of all, I hope you have a blessed holiday season and keep Christ at the center of all your celebrations. Merry Christmas!