And [Isaiah] said, Hear then, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary and try the patience of men, but will you weary and try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, the young woman who is unmarried and a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us]. ~ Isaiah 7:13-14, AMP
December is upon us and, as Bing Crosby croons in the classic song, ‘it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas/everywhere you go!’
Over this year's Thanksgiving weekend, our New Jersey area experienced some beautiful weather with unusually high, almost summer-like temps. As I sat outside on my front steps, I watched as many of my neighbors were unloading their vehicles stuffed with all their ‘booty’ from Black Friday sales, or decorating the outsides of their homes or heading out to local tree farms to find and bring back the perfect Christmas tree, all in frantic preparation and anticipation of ‘the big day.’
But there’s another kind of preparation that we need to consider as we head into the Christmas season -- the preparation of ourselves. Because in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is this other, sometimes forgotten season. The season of Advent.
Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning 'coming,' is a time of hushed and hopeful expectancy and preparation among the church body for the birth of the Christ child. It is a time to prepare our hearts, minds and souls for the greatest gift ever --Immanuel. God With Us.
I’ve been observing, with great delight, the young couple who recently moved in next door to us, as they ready their new home for the birth of their son. The past few weeks have been a flurry of moving, cleaning, painting, rearranging, decorating and baby furniture purchases. Purging what is unnecessary and replacing it with only what is necessary, making room for their new baby. They are preparing their home, with great joy, to be a clean, fresh and loving place to welcome their infant son into.
Can we do any less in the preparation of our own hearts, minds and souls to welcome Jesus as we move through this holy season of expectation and anticipation of our Savior’s birth?
In all the hustle and bustle and insanity that is way too often associated with the coming Christmas season and which can sometimes threaten to push us over the edge, please don’t lose sight of what and of Who is most important.
Instead, may I invite you to take some time in the coming days to cleanse and prepare your own heart, purging what is unnecessary and replacing it with ONLY what is necessary? May I invite you to joyfully make room in your own heart for Jesus and to welcome Him there?Take time to fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, focusing on Him as the True Reason for the season. And rejoice! Because of Jesus, this is to be a season of hope, love and comfort and joy! And it is ours. So rejoice!!
O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransome captive Israel;
Who mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!