Another day of travel (metaphorically of course) in my Advent journey. Another day of decorating and preparing, operating under the mantra “if I build it they will come/ if I prepare someone will show up.” The music plays in my mind, “let every heart prepare Him room.” There is still work to do. Stony hearts have to be broken open to become flesh, dirty hearts made clean, cluttered hearts full of lesser things need to be cleared out of stuff and of self to make room for the coming King.
Remember His first homecoming? No one had room for Him, literally. I don’t want that to happen to me this Advent season. I don’t want my heart to be so hard or so dirty or so cluttered that I’m not able to invite Him in when He arrives. And the time of His appearance is almost here!
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)
this may require a trip to the grocery, I guess I’m not fully ready yet!
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. . . . It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. . . . You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Luke 12:35-40)
So my Advent preparations continue. There is still time! And there are still tasks to be done. Now would be a good time to confess however – I do not have a Christmas tree up in my home. So I did not unpack all the ornaments collected over the years. Most ornaments carry with them memories all their own. I have an ornament Mom told me I made when in first grade. She saved it all those years and gave it to me when I had my own tree in my own home. As I said, Advent is about looking back and about looking forward simultaneously.
I look at my Nativity and remember Jesus’s first coming to earth. God’s promise fulfilled. This is the reason for the hope of the fulfillment of His promise to return. Although Jesus’s return is going to be a little different than His first appearance here as a baby born into a carpenter’s family, whose first bed was an animals’ feeding trough. Acts 1:10-11 tells us what Jesus’s disciples were told about His return to earth,
“After He (Jesus) said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.'”
“Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. . . . See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him. He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:4-11)
Jesus’s return is definitely something worth preparing for, worth anticipating with great joy, worthy of all my hope and effort in getting ready and in being about my Master’s business so that I am ready to receive Him when He comes. But there is something else so wonderful about this Advent season of preparation, of anticipation and of hope in what is yet to come. Even as I am told to make my place, my heart ready to receive Jesus, Jesus is preparing a place to receive me as well! John 14:1-3 makes this perfectly clear when Jesus says these words,
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”
This is good news! This is a reason to hope even in a dark time. Jesus came! Jesus is coming back!
This Advent season I am celebrating both God’s promise fulfilled and God’s promise yet to come. The remembering and the anticipation both bring me great joy and great hope. We are drawing close today to the end of our Advent journey. I still have things to do. Do I have my gift ready to present to Jesus? My favorite Christmas book is “The Littlest Angel.” As a small child I identified with this child angel, who like the little drummer boy, (post “a different drummer” explains) had nothing of value to present to the Christ Child when all the older angels had fabulous, flashy gifts to give.
And yet, in this story, the little angel’s gift of earthly treasures in a wooden box, such as rocks and feathers, was accepted by God because it was from the little angel’s heart and was his most prized possession. Actually, it was his only possession. And he humbly gave it to the Christ Child on the night of His birth. Remember, all of heaven was rejoicing. It was earth that didn’t realize, except for the shepherds at first, the wonder of what happened on that silent, starlit night.
Advent awaits. It is comforting to know that even as I prepare to receive Him, Jesus is preparing a place for me!
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
sincerely, Grace Day