My Christmas week grocery list is scary, and I have a feeling that I’ve forgotten a few things.
In addition to the meal list, every Christmas I prepare a family itinerary for the week. We figure out the activities we’re going to participate in, like going to the Perot Museum or the new Star Wars movie, then buy tickets. There’s also the cleaning list. You know—pick up the garage, clean all the paper clutter off our bedroom dresser, and remove expired food from the refrigerator and the pantry. It’s exhausting to think about all the preparation that goes into Christmas.
But what if we prepare in the same way for the celebration of the birth of Jesus? A more spiritual way… What if we take the time to clean out our minds and hearts of anything that is not “holy” or Christlike? What if we brainstorm ten ways we can worship Jesus, or make up a list of the top five ways we can love family members like Jesus loved—unconditionally?
There are many examples in the Bible of how people prepared for the birth of Jesus. Mary was prepared by the angel Gabriel prior to her conception. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name, JESUS” (Luke 1:30–31). From that point on, I’m sure Mary’s thoughts and actions were all in line with getting ready for this divine birth. I wonder what her “to do” list looked like?
An angel of the Lord also prepared Joseph, who was thinking about quietly exiting the marriage plans. He appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:20).
A just and devout man named Simeon prepared for the birth of Jesus. When Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple, Simeon was there waiting for the young Messiah and said, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation,which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles,and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29–32).
And then there was the prophetess and long-time-widow, Anna, who worshipped and fasted at the temple night and day. She had been preparing for Jesus’ birth for a long time. When she finally saw God in the flesh, “she gave thanks to the LORD and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
What if we prepared like we’ve never prepared before as we recognize the birth of the Savior of the World? We could ask: “How can I honor you more, Jesus?” “How can I be like you to the difficult member of my family this Christmas?” “In what ways can I prepare to make this a more “holy” Christmas gathering?”
This Christmas, let’s prepare our hearts and minds as we recognize the entrance of the King of kings into this world, as prophesied in Isaiah. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6–7).
How will you prepare?
Categories: Devotion of the Week