With each year, Christmas seems to grow more and more busy. During what is the most important time of year next to Easter, distraction, without fail, creeps its ugly head to fill our minds with the to-do’s. As a child, it was my parents who were running around, distracted with Christmas lists, decor, and preparing their home for guests. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found myself in a similar position — buying and wrapping gifts at the last minute, figuring finances, and traveling to be with family.
No matter how busy the Christmas season may be, we must make time for our most precious “to-do” — to prepare Him room in our hearts. This should be a year-round priority for us, although most of us fall short. We miss days on our Bible reading plans, we forget to pray until we lay down our heads at night, and we often take for granted the daily grace extended to us by the Lord.
With only a few more days until Christmas, there is still time to slow down, to truly prepare ourselves.
The first thing we can do to prepare our hearts is to reflect on the character of God. With thanksgiving, we can ponder His holiness, His sovereignty, His love, His grace, His immutability, His justice, and His mercy. We can humble ourselves to Him and thank Him for who He is.
We can also consider the last year and how He has been at work in our own personal lives. We can reflect on His provision in our times of need, the trials He used to sanctify us, and the blessings He has poured out upon us, despite how undeserving we are.
Our reflection of the Lord should bring our hearts to repentance. We know we have sinned and fall short of His glory, yet by His grace, He has given us His Son for our redemption. For this reason, we should examine our hearts and be in repentance daily, praying that the Holy Spirit would guide us to reveal to us the depravity remaining in our hearts.
We should also seek forgiveness from those whom we have sinned against so that we may be reconciled to one another in Christ. There is nothing more pleasing to God than unity within His Church, and it is only through repentance and forgiveness that this can be accomplished.
With pure and contrite hearts, we can focus ourselves on God incarnate, Who humbled Himself on Christmas Day. And this is the truth that should bring us to our knees each time we remember it:
That the all-powerful God and Creator of the universe would take on human flesh in the form of a helpless infant.
That He would give up His seat of glory in the heavens for a manger in the poorest of Jewish towns.
That He would labor with His hands as a carpenter, feeling the sweat and physical pains of hard work.
That He would humble Himself as a servant, even washing the feet of those whom He created.
That He would willingly go to the cross at Golgotha, where, despite perfectly upholding the law of God, He would drink the cup of wrath reserved for the wicked.
That He would die the death of sinners, only to resurrect three days later as eternal Hope for mankind.
The unfathomable humility, mercy, and love He exhibited in coming to this earth as the ultimate sacrifice reminds me of the following lyrics from Sovereign Grace Music:
How low was our Redeemer brought, the King who held the stars
Lay helpless in a maiden’s arms and pressed against her heart
While sheep and cattle raised their voice the babe could speak no words
The ever flowing Spring of Joy had come to share our thirst.
How low was our Redeemer brought, the Lord the worlds obeyed
Would stumble as He learned to walk upon the ground He’d made
The One the angels bowed before would kneel to wash our feet
And be at home among the poor though He owned everything
How low was our Redeemer brought to raise us from our shame
And now the highest praise of all belongs to Jesus’ name
The Healer wounded on a tree to bear our grief and sin
The King gave up His crown so we could ever reign with Him
He didn’t have to come to this earth to dwell with us, but He did. He didn’t have to live the life He lived or die the death He died, but He did.
And one day, when all is said and done, He will return in all His glory for His Bride.
So not only do we remember each Christmas season, but we anticipate, much like we did as children on Christmas Eve. We yearn for His presence as we eagerly prepare for His second coming.
As we grow older, our children will be looking to us for traditions to pass along to their own children one day. Our prayer should not be that they continue on the menial tasks of the Christmas season, like the food and the gift exchanging, but that they always look back to remember what we did, as a family: to reflect, repent, and remember Who Christ is and all that He has done. And that is how we can best prepare our hearts.
After all, a worshipful heart cannot help but have room for Christ.
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