DAY 23: “Prepare The Way!”

“We prepare our houses, the food, and our “Christmas outfits” for the big Christmas photo. But, do we prepare our hearts for the season? “

Well, it’s four weeks until Christmas! How prepared are you? I was in the grocery store the other day and on the end cap (they always get me there) I noticed some new items. Chocolate immediately caught my eye. After further inspection, I noticed that the chocolate was an Advent calendar with the little doors that open for each day of the month. I was excited! When our kids were little, we had an Advent calendar that told the story of Jesus behind each door. The kids would get so excited taking turns opening the little doors to see what was behind each day. When each door opened, we would tell the story leading up to Christmas and the birth of Jesus. As they got older, they loved telling the story themselves as they opened each door. Even after they came home from college, they still wanted to open the doors! Our calendar finally went home to calendar heaven a few years ago and I hadn’t found a replacement. That’s why I was so excited to see these! I bought one for each of my adult children and they were so excited!

To navigate the holidays, it takes preparation. We have certain ways we like to do things. We prepare our houses, the food, and our “Christmas outfits” for the big Christmas photo. But, do we prepare our hearts for the season?

“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7

Growing up in a small Lutheran church we sang the liturgy every week. I started with the “Red” Hymnal (yes, I know, that goes way back…), then we went to the “Green” Hymnal. Sometimes we used the “Blue” one too. There was a part of the liturgy that we sang every week during the offering time. I didn’t really grasp the fullness of it all until a few years ago. However, it has now become a daily part of my prayer to God. I even wrote a song about it that I use in my personal worship.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:10-12 AMP

David wrote Psalm 51 after he sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband killed. …Well then, there’s that! It is a prayer (a song) of repentance. He was absolutely crushed by his sin, but God’s Spirit prompted him to change and live according to the truth. That is the real take-away from this. We all make mistakes, but if we come before the Lord and repent (which means to “turn around”) we can walk in the fullness of all God has for us! God is more concerned with where we are going than where we have been. David became King, influenced his nation, and continues to influence lives today. We can be a better spouse, parent, friend, or co-worker. We set the tone around us for people to see and experience Jesus through us.

Verse 12 goes on to say, “Then will I teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted and return to You.”  If our heart is right with God, He will place people in our path who need to hear about Jesus. They will see the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, turn, and want to know Him as we do.

What does your heart look like today?  Are you preparing and setting the tone for the most wonderful time of the year with your family and friends? Examine your heart today and see if there is anything hidden that needs to be dealt with. God wants this holiday season to be filled with joy, laughter, and peace for you and your family!

Say this with me: “Father, in the Name of Jesus, I open my heart to you today. Examine and remove anything that is standing in the way of receiving all you have for me. I ask you to create in me a new heart, O God.  Renew a right spirit within me. Fill me with your perfect love, peace, and joy so that I may overflow to those around me. I will praise you with my whole heart and today I prepare the way for the best Christmas ever!”

Shalom,

Mama Swan