The theme for the first week of Advent is Hope. I would encourage you to think on the hope that we have because of the birth of Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us, so we do not have to live in darkness. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:19
What are you doing to prepare for Advent? This was a question posed to me by a colleague that caught me quite off guard. She knew I was a believer and wanted to share a heart-to-heart conversation about the meaning of Christmas. Honestly, at that point, I had not really thought about the idea of Advent.
Advent: The arrival of a notable person, thing or event
I celebrate Christmas. It is a meaningful time of celebrating Christ’s birth with family and friends. I love the music, the time sitting in my home with just the fireplace and the Christmas tree to light and give warmth. But the idea of “preparing for Advent” escaped me.
I am pretty sure I responded with a blank stare and a response about decorating my tree. I was unprepared to give and answer for the hope that was in me. I Peter 3:15. I pondered the idea of Advent the rest of the day and well into the night.
As I closed my Bible the next morning after my quiet time, I thought to myself, “This is how I prepare. It is not a once-a-year occurrence, but a steady, daily, moment by moment infusing of God’s Word into my soul that is preparing my heart for the celebration of the most precious birth of all time.”
When I shared this with my friend the next day, she embraced me with a bear hug that communicated gratitude. Gratitude that I took to heart her inquiry, gratitude that I gave her an honest and thoughtful answer, and gratitude that, in my naivety I pointed out the obvious, we should always be preparing our hearts for the coming of our Savior.
See the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids in Matthew 25. Some of the bridal party were prepared with enough oil to wait for the Groom, others ended up in the dark. Be in the light.
I have probably sung Joy to the World a thousand times. With great passion, I sing, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” Honestly, I probably spend more time preparing my home for Christmas than I do my heart. Often, I am worshiping as I decorate my Christmas tree and clean for company. But sometimes it leaves me so drained that my heart becomes the storage shed for grumpiness and frustration instead of the Joy He desires to fill me with.
While I do take time each day to prepare my heart for Advent and believe it should not be a once-a-year event, I think it wise to slow our busied pace and our distracted heart, listen for the still small voice of the one who sent His son 2000 years ago, and remember the sacrifice that was made on our behalf.
Every Sunday our church remembers Christ’s sacrifice through communion. We sing songs about the cross and take time to examine our hearts. We have to be careful that it does not just become a good habit. So, as we sing our Christmas Carols, it is essential that we don’t just celebrate Christmas as the world does, as just another time to party and spend a ridiculous amount of money on things people may not need or want. We cannot just sing Christmas carols without grasping the words we are professing.
As I have been pondering Advent again this year, I began to think of it as a time to still my quiet heart and “prepare Him room” cleaning out the proverbial storage closet, disposing of the accumulated junk of the year and replacing it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+5%3A22&version=NLT
I want my heart to be a sanctuary where the Holy Spirit feels welcome to dwell. I want the time I spend in the Word, in prayer, and being still before the Lord to cause my countenance to radiate the Light like shepherds witnessed so long ago.
I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year. I love the music, the food, the scents and even the presents, but more than all of that, I love that the whole world is celebrating the birthday of my King. As I prepare my heart for this celebration, I cannot let it be relegated to once a year or even once a week, but a day by day, moment by moment appreciation of the gift of God’s precious son. I pray that as I go out into the world each day, I will be like Peter and John in Acts 4:13
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
In the busyness of this season and throughout the year, when I leave the comfort of my prayer closet help the world to recognize that I have been with you. Please help me to be a fragrant offering to you and always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in me.
Ideas for Advent:
Emily P Freeman’s Quiet Collection $10 https://www.theschoolforcreativedirection.com/offers/Ue8j6jJy/checkout
Mariel Davenport’s Tending Through Advent $10
Listen through Matthew and Luke on the YOU Version Bible App $0
Study some of our traditional Christmas Carols
Photo by Mario Losereit on Unsplash
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