As I sit to write this, I'm not sure where I'll end up. I just feel a tug to write, so write I will.
Last night, my husband and both of our families gathered at his parents' house for a little Christmas celebration. We ate chili, had a tacky gift exchange (all gifts were provided by his mother--she always has an eye out for a tacky prize, and we were NOT disappointed last night!), we sat in front of the tree and we sang Christmas carols.
It was lovely.
As we were singing "Away in a Manger" I made an effort to listen to the words I was singing. I've sung that song for the better part of 25 years. I remember a wall-hanging from my grandmother's house that had the music to this old Christmas hymn on it—after I learned to read, I loved to just stare at the wall-hanging and read the words to the song.
But last night, something in this song struck me anew.
Let every heart prepare Him room.
Let every heart make room for Him.
Let every heart become home for Him.
Let every heart become a place for Him to dwell.
This weekend, Julie came to stay with us. We have a 2-bedroom apartment, so the room for her to stay in was THERE--but it wasn't prepared. We use the closet in that room to hold all of our Christmas decorations, so as the decorations come out of the boxes, the boxes tend to end up all over the floor in there. The room was not ready for her to dwell there.
So we prepared her room in our home. We put boxes back in the closet. We straightened desks and shelves. We washed sheets, vacuumed, dusted, made the bed. We washed the towels and scrubbed the sink and tub in the guest bathroom. We prepared her room.
In the church calendar, the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas (counted as the 4 Sundays leading up to Christmas) are called Advent—meaning "coming." So, during this time, Christians are to prepare for Christ's coming.
Most of us (myself certainly included) spend the days leading up to Christmas preparing for someone's coming: Friends, family members, loved ones of every sort. We prepare by shopping, wrapping, baking, cleaning.
But for me, I find that I often fail at the task of preparing Him room in my heart—of preparing for His coming. I clutter my heart with ribbon, boxes, packages and—I'm feeling it a bit today—stress. I have left no space in my heart for the King to dwell. I have failed to prepare Him room. Instead I have filled His room with junk.
And while I have several things on my to-do list for the rest of the week, at the top of my list will be to prepare Him room. To take the time to think, reflect, read, and allow my heart to become home for the tiny child who was born just for me. He was born just for you.
And my wish this Christmas? That every heart would prepare Him room.
We don't have to be perfect for His coming. We just have to be willing to receive Him. That is my prayer this Christmas.