Summary: Before we can truly celebrate Christmas we must be prepared!
Preparing for Christmas
December 2, 2001
This is the time of year when everyone starts getting ready for Christmas. The stores are packed with people buying gifts. Elevators are filled with instrumental Christmas favorites. Those boxes packed away months ago are brought out and all of that lovely Christmas stuff is put out. The houses are decorated with lights and trimmings and yards become the showcases of Christmas splendor.
What do you do to prepare for Christmas?
In my house there is a mass cleaning effort. The whole house is cleaned from top to bottom to get everything in tiptop shape. Before any decorations can be put out the whole house gets a good cleaning.
When the cleaning is complete; the house needs to be arranged for the decorating. The dining room gets completely changed for the Christmas tree and all of the other decorations. Bookshelves are moved. Everyday decorations are put away. The whole house is given a new look in preparation for the decorations. After all of the proper arrangements have been made, the decorations come out and everything begins to take on the look of Christmas. The tree is set up with lights strung from top to bottom and ornaments are scattered on the branches. Various other trimmings make their appearance around the house. Elizabeth displays her Sugar Town collection, garland is placed on the mantle and homemade decorations created by a certain four-year-old are hung on the staircase and woodwork. When all of this is done the work of preparation is nearly finished.
The final preparation for Christmas revolves around the gifts. Lists are created of certain wants or specific needs and the shopping begins. Multiple trips are made to various stores and shopping centers. Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without four or five trips to the mall. The shopping is done so that we can give and receive gifts on Christmas day.
All of this is a great illustration of how God wants us to prepare for Christmas. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a personal cleansing. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a new arrangement of our priorities. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a decorating of the heart. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a receiving and giving of gifts.
I. The cleaning of the heart
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
The word “blessed” literally means happy in the original Greek. From this statement of Jesus we see that the pure in heart are the happy in heart. Why? Simply because they will one day see God. Now this sounds really simple, doesn’t it, because all that you need is a pure heart.
I don’t know about you but there are a lot of days when my heart seems more polluted than pure. I still get angry when someone cuts me off when I’m driving on the highway. I get frustrated when my best plans come unraveled. I still lose my temper over stupid and insignificant problems. I still get jealous when I hear of others whose achievements out shine my own.
Maybe none of this applies to you. Maybe, you aren’t like me and you have your life completely together in your life. Maybe you have no problem with this pure in heart issue. But for those of you, who are like me and still struggle with being pure in heart; I have a question? How can we become pure in heart? What do we have to do?
I have some extremely bad news for you; there is NOTHING you can do to make your heart pure! The good news is that God is the one who cleans the heart and all that you need to do is ask Him. David asked God for this exact thing: Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) God granted David’s request and gave him a clean heart. He can do the same for you; all you need to do is ask Him.
II. The arranging of priorities
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
An essential part of preparing for Christmas involves re-arranging. Just as we arranged our homes, schedules and other aspects of our lives for Christmas. God wants us to arrange our hearts for Christmas. His desire is for you to make more room for His Son in the room of your heart.
When we make this extra room in the heart, God blesses us with more of Christ. It is then that the blessings of God begin to rapidly flow into our lives and overflow into the lives of others. When we put Christ in the center of our lives, everything else comes together.