Preparing for the holidays is primarily a preparing of the heart.
Because what comes down is love and the way to receive love isn’t to wrap anything up — but to unwrap your heart.
This will take time.
This will take waiting.
I must make space for these.
Why don’t I make space just for the heart unwrapping?
Advent — this is the season of preparing that prepares us for any season of life — because we are preparing our lives for Christ to enter in — which prepares for us the life without end.
Is that the ultimate purpose of this life — the preparing for the next life?
Is this why Christmas, Advent, unlike any other time of year, glimmers with a glimpse of heaven — because it’s the time of year we’re fulfilling our purpose, preparing for Christ and His coming again? The Christmas tree’s been lit for weeks, a beacon, a preparing, an anticipation. Why is it easier to make Christmas cookies than to make our hearts ready for Christ?
Is getting ready for Christmas as simple and difficult as simply sitting stilled before the cradle of Christ?
Love came down and “He came to his own people, and his own people did not receive him.”
Love came down – and his own people did not recognize Him.
Love came down — and His own people did not want what He offered.
The Messiah came down and He wasn’t received as the Messiah — and Love comes down down and who receives all the moments as His love?
How in the world am I receiving Christ this Advent?
During Advent, the season of waiting for the coming, the Christ-people, they meet whatever comes with this brazen belief that it is Love that Comes Down.
Love comes down to His own people — and His own people are the ones who do receive the unexpected and unlikely as His love.
The infant as infinite God.
The Babe as bondage-breaker.
The stump as new shoot, the ugly as beautiful, the weak as strong.
Our loving God always comes to us wrapped in the unlikely.
We may not know the outcome but we tenaciously believe that in Him we overcome — because Love comes down.
Is that how we get ready for Christmas? By readying the heart to receive the gift of every moment — no matter what the moment unexpectedly holds — as a gift of His love?
We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ — when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.
At the end of the day, the carols hardly play, and yet I hear them.
I light the candles at the hearth.
And I can feel how it comes.
The warmth and the flame and this slow unwrapping of everything bound…