I wish you a joyous Fall...and a Happy New Year!1
by Kathryn Dyksterhouse
Happy Fall! Today is October 13th and I had to do a Google search to make sure that I was correct in assuming that it is still Fall. And Google confirmed that Fall lasts from September 22nd – December 21st (I honestly had no idea that it lasted so far into December!). The reason that I had to double check was because I have begun seeing early signs of Christmas. I’ve noticed decorations up in stores and ads on TV and even received an unsolicited catalog in the mail this week for my children to peruse to get ideas of what they may like to ask for this Christmas. I even saw that some people have started putting up their Christmas trees!!
It is true that we, as Christians, we should celebrate the coming of Christ all year long. And while it is also true that seeing signs of Christmas in October is no anomaly (this happens every year!), I also believe that many will look forward to the Christmas season this year more than in years past. In this year of uncertainty and isolation, or upended plans and unsure futures, sitting as a family around a Christmas tree and reading Advent Devotions and listening to Christmas songs and hymns and watching old movies will remain a constant and stable tradition. There is a hope and joy that will come from the familiarity of tradition.
Well, I also think that October is not too early to start thinking about a Bible reading plan for the next year. If gazing at the lights on a tree can provide hope, how much more so the Word of God that is the only guaranteed constant in our ever-changing world! “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
My sister-in-law is reading through the Bible chronologically this year with her children and recommended their reading plan to me. I am really looking forward to trying it! This plan is unique in that it offers a brief (8-11 minute) podcast discussing each day’s reading and pointing out how Jesus is present throughout the entire Bible. This plan is called “The Bible Recap” and is described on their website as follows:
Have you ever closed your Bible and thought, “What did I just read?” Or maybe you've tried to read through the Bible in a year, but quit when it felt confusing or impersonal? Are you one of the many who has read through the book of Genesis approximately 20 times, but hasn't read anything beyond that?
The Bible Recap is here to help! It’s a short daily podcast (~8 minutes) hosted by Tara-Leigh Cobble. This will be her 10th time reading through the Bible chronologically, and she’ll highlight and summarize that day’s Bible reading in a casual, easy to understand way. The Bible Recap will not only help you read scripture but help you love reading it!
Each day you’ll read the assigned reading, then tune in to The Bible Recap each day after you've finished reading!
I am really excited about starting this plan in January! Please let me know if you’d like to join me. Regardless how you plan to read your Bible in 2021, whether it is a plan to read it in its entirety through the year or over a longer span of time or to focus in on several specific books in more depth, I challenge you to be very strategic about filling your heart and mind with God’s word in the coming year. Let us proclaim along with Job, “I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.” (Job 23:12)
May you have a joyous Fall, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!