Written by Debbie Garrett
For me the word preparation immediately brings up “to do” lists in my head. I have to admit I’m a task-oriented person, so this fuels me. I love to cross things off the list as I take care of item after item. I’m afraid though, that this obsession of the ‘doing’ becomes the focus of the season. In the hectic busy-ness of the holidays, fullness of schedule replaces the ‘”fullness of joy” found in our Savior’s presence (Psalm 16:11.) And consequently, I miss out on the true meaning of the Christmas season. While the items on the “to-do” list are all wonderful, let’s think just for a moment about the #1 Task: Decorating! Decorations focus on the outward appearance of things. In fact, I seek to make all things look beautiful by covering them up with all sorts of lights, ornaments, icing, or wrapping paper!
The Christmas story itself focuses on an “inward” event: the miracle of the Virgin Birth. Scripture reminds us that our natural inclination is to look at outward appearances, but God looks at the inward appearance – our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7) What if this Christmas I focused on preparing my heart to receive its King? Like the song says, “Let every heart, prepare Him room.” That means I need to do some inner house cleaning and remove sinful clutter. (This sounds exactly the opposite of my holiday decorating task, doesn’t it?) After all, there was no room at the Inn for the baby Jesus, so it was the simple undecorated stable that was chosen to be the birthplace of the King. Let’s not be too crowded to miss out on the miracle of Christmas.
In Ezekiel 36:25-27, God promises “I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you, I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you…” May God create in me, and in you, a pure and holy heart this Christmas, prepared to receive the gifts of salvation, sanctification, transformation, and the blessing of His presence.