Study: What are some of the special things we do to prepare for Christmas? How can we apply this preparation to our own hearts?
Pray: Pray for the spiritual vision to truly “see” God at work in our lives this Advent. Bring to prayer any special moments or experiences which touched your heart.
Serve: How might we help others prepare for the coming of Christ? How might our service bring others closer to God and one another?
They were located in the storage space under the stairs in my parents’ house. Each year several boxes of varying sizes would get pulled out from this space on the day after Thanksgiving. The contained:
* Christmas tree
* Ornaments & Tinsel
* Christmas figurines
* Advent Wreath
* Nativity Set
Furniture would be moved to make space for the tree, items would be packed up or rearranged to accommodate the Christmas decorations, and other items (wreaths & candles) would be purchased. The preparations would often take several hours to set up, but when finished, the house would be transformed.
Many homes have similar (or even more elaborate) traditions in their preparations for the coming of Jesus. Decorations, inside and out, completely change the appearance of a home – often at the cost of hours (or even days) of hard work.
These decorations can often change the appearance of a building in a variety of ways. Beauty and light are the intended result, and the added attention of decorations reveals the power of the season. Simply put, we decorate to show that something special is happening in our world.
What is true for decorations is true for us. Just as decorations can transform a building, so to we are called to look at our hearts to discern what needs to be changed, improved, or cleaned up. We have the opportunity to see how our lives affect others.
We adorn a building with decorations to make it beautiful, but do we take the time to decorate our hearts? Do we pause and look at our values or priorities, our hopes, needs, or fears? Do we examine what is not of God in our life and change it?
The Scriptures remind us that when Jesus comes he will be our judge. He will rule the nations and govern with justice. In preparation John the Baptist urges the people to repent – to make a change in their hearts – and adorn their lives with the beauty and goodness that arise from this season. Let us do the same, and decorate both our homes and our hearts, so the Lord will find us ready when he returns.