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Contents

**Heads up! This devotional has a soundtrack. Listen to all the songs in this devotional and more on our Spotify playlist, “Songs that Warm the Soul.” **

Key takeaways

  • It can be difficult to feel joyful when surrounded by stress, loneliness, and unmet expectations that often accompany the holiday season.
  • Listening to scriptures along with these Christmas songs can focus us on God’s love and help us keep our spirits bright.

It’s a wonderful feeling
Feel the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling
It’s that time of year
Christmas time is here
And with the blessings from above
God sends you His love
And everything’s okay
Merry Christmas, happy holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by *NSYNC

What better way to bring in the holidays than with the ‘90s classic, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays”? The vibes that come with this song remind me of the warm sense of togetherness and joy that God brought to the first Christians in the Bible:

Everyone felt a sense of awe because the apostles were doing many signs and wonders among them. There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed; they shared all their material possessions in trust. They sold any possessions and goods that did not benefit the community and used the money to help everyone in need. They were unified as they worshiped at the temple day after day. In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts. The new disciples praised God, and they enjoyed the goodwill of all the people of the city. Day after day the Lord added to their number everyone who was experiencing liberation.

Acts 2:43-47 Voice

No matter what was going on around them, the disciples in the New Testament had the “wonderful feeling …  the love in the room from the floor to the ceiling” that we often associate with Christmas. Their faith in God and their love for one another brought warmth to their souls and made them a bright light for other people, no matter what challenges they faced. 

The holiday season can be a great time of connection and celebration, but it doesn’t always bring that “happy, joyful” feeling that we get from listening to an *NSYNC song. The holidays often come with many feelings that aren’t joyful—stress, frustration, loneliness, bitterness, disappointment, and grief, to name a few—and sometimes these emotions lead us away from God rather than closer to him. Listening to holiday music (which is everywhere this time of year) can even remind us of things we don’t have or lead us to chase temporary pleasures that won’t satisfy us. 

With that in mind, we’ve put together a playlist of “Songs and Scriptures that Warm the Soul.” The passages of the Bible will help us spiritually by building our faith, quieting our hearts, and focusing us on the joy that comes from loving God and other people. The accompanying playlist is filled with some Christmas songs and some non-holiday music to help us connect with God. It’s a mix of songs to both quiet our hearts and fill them with joy, to understand ourselves and God better, and to think about others during this time. 

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Let God make your spirit bright 

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent Night,” The Temptations

“Silent Night” is a beautiful song to sing along to, but this time of year is often anything but silent. It’s filled with all kinds of noise:

  • Stress from travel, work deadlines, school exams, family visits, shopping lists, holiday events, and other errands can fill our minds.
  • Tension in our relationships with friends or family often comes to the surface this time of year.
  • Insecurity comes with comparing ourselves (or being compared) to others, whether it’s appearances or feeling like we should be farther along in life than we are (“I should have graduated by now, I should be married by now, I should have gotten that promotion by now…”).
  • Loneliness often arises when we are home, wishing we had better relationships with family, friends, or in dating/marriage.
  • Unresolved emotions of guilt, regret, hurt, or even grief often resurface when we slow down during the holidays.
  • Unmet expectations can fill our hearts with disappointment when things don’t go the way we planned. 

If we try to make our circumstances perfect so that everything is “calm and bright,” we will probably be disappointed and frustrated. A lot of things in life are out of our control, but when we make time to get away with God he can always quiet our hearts and bring us hope.

I’m asking GOD for one thing, only one thing: To live with him in his house my whole life long. I’ll contemplate his beauty; I’ll study at his feet. That’s the only quiet, secure place in a noisy world, The perfect getaway, far from the buzz of traffic.

Psalm 27:4-5 MSG

Even in the noisiness and buzz that often come with the holidays, God can be the place we go to get peace and security, but we have to decide and plan to make him that place. 

I’ll be your safe place
You can run and hide
I’m the one who says ‘Just come and abide’
Be yourself
Take a breath
And when you need a little rest
I’ll be your safe place

Safe Place,” Pauline Zoe Park

How do we make God our safe place? Like Pauline Zoe Park says in her song, we can find peace with God when we listen for his voice, and come to him honestly in prayer.

Let the Bible ignite your hearts

They said to each other, “When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn’t it warm our hearts?”

Luke 24:32 CEV

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

Matthew 11:29 AMPC

Reading about Jesus in the Bible can warm our hearts and help us learn from him how to handle life without being taken out by it. Pick a Gospel of the Bible to read during this season (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John), and take notes on how you see Jesus approach different circumstances, relationships, and emotions. 

Let prayer lift up your soul

I waited a long time for the Eternal; He finally knelt down to hear me. He listened to my weak and whispered cry. [2] He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay. With a gentle hand, He pulled me out To set me down safely on a warm rock; He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.

Psalm 40:1-2 Voice

When we come to God with all that we feel, he can pull us out of any difficult emotions and put us in a nice, warm place. 

Pause and reflect

  • What “noise” is taking up space in my heart? Stress, conflict, insecurities, loneliness, unresolved emotions, or something else?
  • How can I create quiet time with God every day this holiday season?

Additional scriptures on this topic

Additional songs on this topic

Let God bring light to your mind 

Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.

Psalm 94:19 TLB

One of the biggest battles we experience in any season is the battle with negative thoughts. Negative thinking—which includes unbelieving, fearful, and self-critical thoughts—affects all of us and it impacts the way we feel about God and our lives.

I’ll stand firm with confidence
‘Til He comes again, ’til He comes again
I’ll keep my mind, stayed on Him
‘Til the very end, ’til the very end

Stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3),” by Terrian

Not only is the sound of this song motivating and empowering, but the lyrics can also help us remember where to focus our minds. The song is based on Isaiah 26:3, which tells us that fixing our minds on God brings perfect and constant peace:

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 26:3 AMP

When our minds need peace, we can practice focusing on God throughout the day:

  • When we aren’t sure what to do in a certain situation, we can ask ourselves how God is working for the good in this situation. 
  • When something stressful or frustrating happens, how would God respond to it? 
  • When we’re feeling sad or lonely, what scriptures can show us God’s comfort?

Fixing our thoughts on God will bring us perfect peace when our view of him is healthy. He loves and cares for us, and he longs to hear our needs (Philippians 4:6-7). He also works through everything for our good (Romans 8:28). These healthy thoughts about God will help us relax and trust that he will take us wherever we need to go. We can be content even if something goes wrong  because we trust God’s love for us.

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! [28] As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord GOD my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that you have done.

Psalm 73:26,28 ERV

It’s so easy to get caught up in what we should have, who we should be, what we or others should or shouldn’t be doing, but we will find a peaceful and content mind when we realize that all we need is to be close to God.

Santa won’t you bring me
Everything my family needs?
Take it easy on the stockings
And help me shut up all of my greed
So come take a cookie and drink
A cup of milk I’ll leave
’Cause this Christmas I’ve got everything I need

Maybe This Year,” Mark Barlow

Pause and reflect

  • What is filling my mind the most this holiday season?
  • Do I believe God cares for me? Why or why not?
  • What are some healthy thoughts about God that I need to remember more often?

Additional scriptures on this topic

Additional songs on this topic

Let the love of God’s family melt your heart 

And you wonder how your parents did it
When do you know somewhere is home?
It’d be great to have some Christmas spirit
Or friends that live close
But I’m just as much a fantasist as I’m a lone ghost

Hallway Weather,” NIKI

Though the holidays are supposed to be a time of connection and family, sometimes they can feel lonelier than the rest of the year. We’re often more reminded of what we don’t have than what we do have, whether it’s because of finances, broken families, or the loss of loved ones. Like the song says, when do you know somewhere is home?

God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Psalm 68:6 NLT

God has a special place in his heart for the lonely, the brokenhearted, and the lost. He wants everyone to feel included and loved, and hopes we are able to find a home in him and in spiritual friendships. God will surround us with a spiritual family, but we need to make the decision to open our hearts and let them in.

Send your light and your truth to guide me, to lead me to your holy mountain, to your home.

Psalm 43:3 ERV

Light and truth make our relationships close. To be loved is to be known (Psalm 139:5-6 Voice), so the way to build family is to make an effort to know and be known by each other. How much more free and joyful would the holidays be if we spent them with friends who knew us inside and out?

There are weary travelers
Searchin’ everywhere you go
Strangers who are searchin’
Longin’ deeply to be known
May you find a light
May you find a light
May you find a light to guide you home

May You Find a Light,” Josh Garrels

This holiday season, we can let the love of God’s family melt away any walls we put up around our hearts. As we open our hearts to spiritual friends, we will find God guiding us home to a family that can never be taken away. 

Pause and reflect

  • What are my spiritual friendships like? Do I have people who know me? Do I create a space where others can be fully known? 
  • How can I create home and family with the people God has put in my life by embracing a culture of truth and honesty?

Additional scriptures on this topic

Additional songs on this topic

  • Home,” Aaron Taylor

Let the Good News be your guiding light 

[8] That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. [9] Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, [10] but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. [11] The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  [12] And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:8-12 NLT

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus. We can get caught up in the bustle of presents, events, traveling, and family, and we miss out on the Good News that Jesus brought. His birth was miraculous, and with his life he fulfilled God’s promise that the Messiah would die for our sins on the cross so we could be free to be completely ourselves with God and others. 

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, [19] and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” [21] Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Luke 4:18-19,21 NLT

Because of Jesus’s sacrifice, we are all able to be set free from what oppresses us, see what we’ve been blinded to, and be released from what makes us feel trapped. We get a light that we are then able to share with others.

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on Earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
And can you hear the angels singing
Glory to the light of the world
Glory, the light of the world is here

Light of the World,” Lauren Daigle

Because of Jesus, we are all capable of change, no matter how far gone we feel we are. He loves us in our weakest moments, and he never stops believing in who we can be.

I’m stubborn, but I’m growing
I’m selfish, but I’m learning
I’m still changing
I’m a vessel that is broken
I’m a sinner, who’s still hoping
That I’ll keep changing

Changing,” Pauline Zoe Park

The Good News isn’t just a phrase in Christmas songs; it can be the guiding light in our lives that reminds us of God’s power and helps us become who we are meant to be. 

Pause and reflect

  • How much do I think about Jesus and the Good News during this time?
  • What do I need God’s help changing and being set free from?

Additional scriptures on this topic

Additional songs on this topic

Let the warmth of God’s love be your gift to others 

But now that Timothy has come back to us from [his visit with] you, and has brought us good news of your [steadfast] faith and [the warmth of your] love, and [reported] that you always think kindly of us and treasure your memories of us, longing to see us just as we long to see you, [7] for this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands];

1 Thessalonians 3:6-7 AMP

Love warms the heart, and this season brings the opportunity to do good in people’s lives in ways we may not be able to otherwise. We could have conversations with members of our family that brighten their day or help us get to know them, or we could serve and help unburden our families of tasks that are bothering them. There are also so many opportunities to serve the community or to reach out to friends who might be lonely. 

Given the brisk pace of this season, my first reaction to these opportunities is often, “That’s too overwhelming! I already have enough on my plate; I can’t add to it doing all these other things.” This scripture helps me when I get in that mindset:

Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].

1 Corinthians 16:14 AMP

We don’t have to do any drastic actions to show how loving we are. We just need to make everything we do a loving action. When we’re motivated by God’s love for us, just doing a little bit of good as we go about our daily lives can make ripples beyond what we can imagine.

Maybe there’s no magic wand
Maybe there’s no switch to flip
Some days you may soar beyond
And some days you start to slip
You can give the world some good
In the daily give-and-take
With every ripple, ripple, ripple that you make

Do a Little Good, Spirited Cast

Pause and reflect

  • How can I make each thing I do today a loving deed? How can each conversation, task, or even fun activity be a time for me to love?

Additional scriptures on this topic

Additional songs on this topic

Scriptures (and Songs) that Warm the Soul 7

Alexis Colvin is a writer and editor for Deep Spirituality, and is passionate about using her creative skills to apply spiritual concepts to music and other forms of pop culture.

Scriptures (and Songs) that Warm the Soul 7

Alexis Colvin is a writer and editor for Deep Spirituality, and is passionate about using her creative skills to apply spiritual concepts to music and other forms of pop culture.

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Scriptures (and Songs) that Warm the Soul 9