Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.
I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. I love lights, stockings, songs, nativity scenes….
I digress for a moment ….My Mama Teetle and Papa Jay have the MOST AMAZING nativity scene. The pieces are hard plastic and I vividly remember playing with them each Christmas morning over at their house. When we started accumulating Christmas stuff, I lobbied for the same type of nativity scene and won! Now we are getting pieces and the kids play with them a lot. I typically enjoy adding princesses or non-traditional extras to the foray like dinosaurs or lego men….
I return. Like I was saying I love Christmas. We got married around Christmas, and at our shower and wedding, we received A LOT of AWESOME Christmas ornaments. As much as I love Christmas, I think Amy may love Christmas more than me. Cookies decorating, decorating the tree, etc. are all activities that are near to her heart.
I don’t know where we were last Christmas. Why didn’t we observe Christmas here? Maybe we were in shock of moving and adjusting or realizing that we were in fact going to have the 3rd child. Or maybe Amy was pregnant, sleeping all the time, and we were just trying to survive (most likely) but THIS YEAR we have realized that Christmas is different in Belize.
Before you read any further: The rest of this post is not an indictment against the American Machine that results in consumerism Christmas, things like Elf on the Shelf and Santa (which spoiler alert, I will address later on). This post is merely a perspective the Lord laid on my heart while observing Belizeans this Christmas season.
Growing up Christmas was awesome! I remember that Santa came and he spread out all the presents. You know what I mean, didn’t wrap ANY of them. They were just out. Molly (my sister), and I each had our own spot. I remember, vividly, waking up around 3 or so after Santa had left, tip-toeing out of the room just to take a glance of what Santa brought. I remember as I aged, Santa began to wrap presents (sneaky Santa). I remember as Amy and I got married all of a sudden she received presents “Love Santa” scribbled on the tags. It was surely a time of joy, but what was my joy wrapped up in?
I am constantly seeing posts right now of creative ways to position each family’s Elf on the Shelf. I think this idea would have blown my mind when I was little and I can’t imagine the joy of finding out where my Elf is for the day, as a child? The investment of creative-thinking skills from the parents is quite amazing and applauded. My prayer is that every parent is spending at least that much time in creatively thinking about how to make their family as excited about Jesus being born as they are about elves on shelves.
I was at the Primary School last Monday morning and asked the kids what is their favorite thing about Christmas. Here are some of the highlights:
- Time with family
- NO SCHOOL
- Vacation Bible School
- Turkey and Ham
- Christmas Programs and Services
- Jesus Birthday
Now I am not so slow that I think that they weren’t giving me the answer I wanted to hear BUT it’s the theme. I didn’t hear Santa. I didn’t hear presents.
I went home that night and read my devotion for this season and noticed what that it said “Are we doing what we sing in Joy to the world? Are we really preparing Him room?”
Wowzers! Prepare Him Room. Why do we need to prepare room for Jesus at Christmas? Well…it’s simple. Before Jesus came, God prepared.
You see I have always wondered. Why didn’t God just send Jesus after the first sin of Adam and Eve? If that was his redemption the plan then why didn’t’ it happen immediately? God revealed the answer that Monday night in my devotion. He had to PREPARE the earth, prepare us for Jesus. He sent John the Baptist immediately before Jesus to prepare the way.
“And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” – Luke 1:17
The devotion said “What John the Baptist did for Jesus, Advent can do for us. Don’t let Christmas find you unprepared, spiritually unprepared”
That spoke volumes to me! As Amy and I were discussing packing, our schedule for people to see, presents to buy, stuff to bring back from the states, I realized Christmas is going to come and we are NOT going to be prepared. We have NOT prepared Him room.
We doubled back started playing more with our nativity scene, talked about the greatest present, watched Veggie Tale Christmas movies instead of Disney Junior Christmas specials, and focused on reading Christmas devotions. We are preparing our hearts for welcoming Jesus this Christmas!!
What about you? As you prepare for parties, family gatherings, Christmas day, toys, etc, are you also preparing your heart for Him this Christmas?
My prayer for everyone is this Christmas is that we would all realize Christmas is an indictment against the world that we are all sinners in need of a savior, that God loves us so much to give us Jesus, and that we should be extraordinarily creative making our kids MORE excited about Jesus than Santa Claus this year.
Let us prepare our heart to make Him room and then “rejoice exceedingly with great joy”
May God bless you and your family richly this Christmas Season,