Because all of my babies were induced, I knew when they would be born. On the night before we went to the hospital, I wrote each a letter. I tried to prepare myself for the change that was about to wash over us, but there was no way to fathom the difference each one would make.
That first little bundle of blue came home and took over. And as he grew, my stuff diminished (or was moved to higher ground) and his stuff expanded. He filled my home and overflowed my heart.
We often think of preparing for a child as buying baby equipment, painting the nursery, and stockpiling supplies.
As it turns out, the greatest need is to clear out and make room. Release our agenda. Resign our definition of perfect. Relinquish our own sleeping schedule, bathroom breaks, and dining plan. It becomes all about the baby.
So it is in preparing your heart’s home for the Christ child. This time of year is naturally full. Modern day Christmas brings a host of extra activities to pile on top of normal responsibilities.
Advent won’t happen if it’s just another thing to do.
Pondering will be lost as your eyes dart down your list. And you’ll miss out on this special season-induced opportunity to clear out and make room to receive and BEHOLD.
You may need to say “No” to some things on that list in order to say “Yes” to the gift God is offering. Christmas Advent is a unique opportunity that only comes once a year. Certainly, we can reflect on the Savior’s birth any time, any day. But do we?
Getting ready for this baby is not just about buying gifts and throwing up lights, but about acknowledging your poverty and exposing your dark spots. So do what you need to do to make room in your schedule. But even more importantly, take time to examine the rooms of your heart.
6 questions that will help you clear out and prepare to make room:
1. What longing is going unfulfilled by this world?
2. How often do you murmur, “If only ...”?
3. Where does sin have a foothold?
4. Where is self-sufficiency occupying center stage?
5. Are you struggling for worth or weary of waiting?
6. What is stealing your peace and inflaming your fear?
You can probably identify with the little boy who prepared for his part in the Christmas play. He was an angel who was supposed to deliver this one line: “It is I; don’t be afraid!” He rehearsed with his grandma again and again, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
But when the spotlight came on and blinded him, he froze. The stiff silence was broken with his whimper: “It’s me. And I’m scared.”
Most of our fears, stolen peace, and failure-centered feelings trace back to one thing: too much of me.
If you take a breath long enough to let the Holy Spirit make room, sweeping out the I’s, discarding the mine’s, and overwhelming the me’s, your heart will be ready to receive the gift of HIM.
It may not be comfortable, but it might be God’s greatest Christmas gift to you.
And if your Advent leaves your heart empty of self and full of Christ, it could usher in a New Year full of resolve with more room to accomplish his will.
Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Alex
You are invited to my FREE prayer challenge based on my newest book for Advent, “Behold.” It’s 5 days of short devotionals and suggested prayer to help you usher Christ into your heart and adjust your perspective. Christmas will take on a whole new look! Sign up at BeholdAdvent.com.
Christi Gee is the author of Behold: A Christmas Advent Journey and Revival: 6 Steps to Reviving Your Heart and Rebuilding Your Prayer Life. She began teaching the Bible while she was still a teen and through the decades led children’s ministries, wrote church curriculum, and began speaking at women’s events. Although her professional career was in marketing, her highest calling has always been her husband of three decades and three children. While still working as a marketing director for Liberty University, she began blogging and now reaches thousands each week through her work at ChristiGee.com, where she writes about parenting, faith through the challenges in life, and seeking God’s will. Connect on Facebook or Instagram!
Read Advent Bible verses at BibleStudyTools.com - The 28 Scriptures can be broken into 4 weeks with a passage for each day!
Prayer is a wonderful way to help cut away from distractions of the season and open your heart to prepare for the joy and hope of Christ's birth. Crosswalk.com offers 12 Advent Prayers to help you focus on the reason for the season!