I take down the Indian corn from the front porch and put away my fall “thankful” decorations. That’s the first step, clearing space, making room. Isn’t that what Advent is all about? Advent is a time of preparation, a time to clear away the clutter so carelessly accumulated in order that I might make room for something or someone long expected. A definition of Advent says, “the arrival of a notable person or event.” Jesus Christ is that notable person. His birth in Bethlehem, a baby son born to Mary and Joseph, two-thousand twenty-one years ago, is the notable event.
Ironically, this world was not prepared for the very first Advent. They were not prepared for the notable person nor for the notable event – the event that would mark His entrance into the world He had created so many millenniums ago. Mankind was not ready to receive this notable person, Jesus, nor were they prepared for the event of His birth.
I wonder if we are any better prepared today to receive this notable person, Jesus? Are we any better prepared now to celebrate this most notable of all events, the event of His birth on earth? Sometimes I think not. And we have the Book! We know the story. We really have no excuse not to be prepared. But two-thousand twenty-one years ago, things were different. A Messiah had been promised to the people of Israel, but they had grown weary with the waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. Years passed, generations came and went, still no Savior. Perhaps they had given up hope and were no longer looking, no longer expecting the prophesies and the promises of God to be fulfilled. And so they were caught off guard and unprepared.
So great was their lack of preparation, that there was no room for Jesus. A place had not even been prepared for His birth. (the notable event) How telling that the world He created did not make room to receive Him when He came. And so Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable, and even that was full with the animals who took shelter there. John 1:11 tells me the sad truth of Jesus’s first coming,
“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.”
I hope I can do better this Advent season than the Israelites (and the rest of the world for that matter), did on that first Christmas. I want to prepare for this notable event, the arrival of this notable person. I need to prepare my home and my heart – both need cleaning. How did I let things accumulate that crowded out or covered up the essential elements of a Christ following life? Time to let the light in and clean out the cobwebs. But this I cannot do by myself. I need my Heavenly Father’s help. So today, I think my first Advent prayer will be,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
I can clean my house, but only God can clean up my heart and make it ready to receive Him again and anew –
sincerely, Grace Day