December is here and it is time to make room for Christmas. As for me and my house, we don’t begin clearing space until after Thanksgiving. This involves moving some things around to make room for the Christmas tree and other decorations. Some things are put away to make room for nativities and other seasonal decor. As I thought about what I needed to move out to make room for all my Christmas decorations this year, I thought about preparing my heart for this Advent season. How do I prepare my heart? How I can make room for hope, love, joy, and peace in my life?
These past two years have been a constant stream of change. I have found comfort in knowing that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. (Hebrews 13:8) I have found renewed strength as I hope in the Lord, that I carun and not grow weary. I can walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31) The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Peace that surpasses all understanding is mine in Christ. (Philippians 4:6-7) God gave his One and Only Son for me and for you. (John 3:16) All of this and more is ours in Christ! How amazing is that! But, the enemy would love for us to lose sight of these truths and he would love for us to live with no hope, love, joy or peace.
So, how do we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ once again? How do we make room in our hearts for more hope, more love, more joy, and more peace? What needs to go in order for this to happen? I think we find the answer in James 4:7-8, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.”
We begin by humbling ourselves before the Lord and clearing out space through confession and repentance to make room in our hearts to draw near so that He can draw near to us. May we allow some space in our lives for the simple and the sacred this season to just adore Him.
(Jennifer Thomas is Director of Spiritual Formation at First United Methodist Church, Minden.)
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