09 Dec Advent – Preparing for Christmas
This week’s devotional features a guest post by Heidi Fitzsimmons
For years now I have been hearing our pastor plead with us to use the Advent season as a time to prepare. Prepare, of course, for the little baby. And year after year December 20th rolls around, I lift my head from all of the wrapping paper, look around and ask “where did the time go?”. This Advent Season, let’s prepare for the savior and make ourselves ready.
Before we begin this week’s Advent study – wait, and as a way to reflect on last week’s – prepare, take a few moments and listen to the song by Chris Tomlin, Even so Come; feel the words wash over you and allow yourself to enter into a state of mind of readiness, waiting, and preparation.
The biblical definition of Patience
“A quality or virtue presented as either forbearance or endurance. It is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion.”
I can see that – a man patiently waiting for the bus, he is late for an appointment all the while, he is NOT getting frustrated or angry. Is that easy? Nope, not for me. Personally, if I am late for something, I get anxious and depending on what I am late for, I might even get a little irritable.
Is that something I’m proud of? Absolutely not!
How do I work on avoiding those anxious feelings? Preparation.
I seriously LOVE to be prepared and being ready, especially when there is a big event.
Let’s take Thanksgiving:
- I create a Menu;
- I pull a variety of recipes together, double checking with the fam of course
- Next the Shopping List
- Then, what items can be Prepared ahead of time?
- And possibly the most important list? The order in which the food must be cooked or warmed up and in what oven!
I even ask Alexa to create reminders for me, which include when to light the fire, my candles and open the wine.
And what happens when something goes awry and not according to my plan? I get stressed and anxious!
And every time, my kids are there to the rescue. Without being asked, they jump in and start helping – not only with the cooking, but they also help me find and catch my breath; with the assurance that it will all get done. And you know what? It does, and we all share and enjoy a wonderful meal.
What have I learned through that? My preparations allowed for others to move in and complete the project. I’ve prepared my children to take action when needed, and even my little timers with Alexa make it possible for them to step in and take care of what’s needed if I can’t.
Whether or not I was able to complete the project on my own, my preparations were not done in vain.
Prepare for Jesus
“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” – Exodus 23:20
‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’ – Matthew 11:10
As we prepare for Christmas this year, rest assured that the Lord is also making preparations for us. He has prepared a place for us – a place we have access to because of Jesus. God has pursued us so beautifully through Christmas – shouldn’t we do the same?
What if we approached December differently this year? Instead of having anxious feelings of worrying “can it all get done?”, be assured that what needs to get done will get done, and let’s prepare our hearts and minds for the coming savior.
Take a look at your current to-do list:
- Shop for presents
- Wrap said presents
- Go to parties
Try a simpler to-do list:
- Find quiet time to pray
- Sit and be still
- Prepare your mind for the real gift
As you go through this season, allow your feelings of stress and anxiety to be replaced with feelings of peace and assurance. Find this peace during moments of prayer, being quiet, and taking the time to find your breath. Let’s be ready and prepared for the arrival of our true gift; the gift of life, love and grace.
This December, prepare your heart by simply embracing the True Meaning of Christmas.