Preparing for Christmas: Cleaning

The holidays are upon us, our Thanksgiving celebrations are over and now we are into the season of Advent, in no time Christmas will be here.

The busyness of the holidays always seems to take over an I get lost in the hustle. So, this year I am trying to be intentional about making that different. When my eyes are on my calendar and my to-do list, I get overwhelmed. My intention is to prepare my heart and soul for Jesus this year.

One of the main tasks we do at the hoidays is getting our homes clean before company arrives. Sometimes this means a deep cleaning, but if time doesn’t allow for that maybe it is a quick once over.

I believe that we should do the same thing with our hearts as we prepare for the Lord’s coming. Does your heart need cleaning?

David tells the Lord in Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.”

Cleaning the house begins with getting rid of the clutter that is lying around, I don’t know about you, but my heart is often cluttered also. Cluttered with frustration, hurt, resentment, worry, fear… you name it, it may be found there.

I know as David knew that I desperately need God’s grace. Just as I need to pick up each piece of clutter in my house and take care of it, I also need to take care of the clutter in my heart. Each frustration, want or sadness needs to be taken to the Lord.

Do you wonder what this might look like? Let me share a few examples.

You might say, ‘Lord, I am still grieving the loss in my heart. It is so difficult to celebrate or plan a celebration with all of this pain. I need You help to see the hope that Jesus brings to the world. I do not have to be pushed or pulled by the pressures of the world’s view of the holidays. My joy needs to be in Jesus opening heavens door for me and my loved one who has now passed on. My tears will still flow, my heart will still ache, but I will celebrate the hope I know in Jesus by just putting up my manger scene.’

We just lay out our hearts clutter before the Lord and tell Him our needs and He will help us to see ho we can go on, what we can do.

Most of us need some rest, we need to take time to be with Jesus, to read an Advent devotional or to sing a hymn that reiterates the Christmas story and brings hope to our weary hearts.

Let me share another scenario. Maybe your heart is feeling jealous or envious because you know you won’t have this Christmas be as you want it to be. Maybe you can’t be with the people you want. Maybe you know you can’t afford the gifts you would like to buy, yet you see others planning trips and shopping sprees leaving you feeling jealous and resentful. What might you tell the Lord about your heart then? ‘Lord, I want so much more than what is possible, I feel so disappointed, I am jealous of ____’s ability to fly to visit her family and ___”s financial status making him able to buy extravagant gifts. I want to scream in discontent. But Lord, I know Christmas is really about the tiny baby who came to earth to bring salvation. He is the one whose Word teaches me to surrender, to let go, and to forgive. Lord, help me rejoice in what seems to be a great trial and a big frustration. Help me celebrate Jesus’ birth with what I have this Christmas..’

Whatever it is that is cluttering up your heart this holiday season, take it to the Lord. He wants us to come just as we are and bring what is on our hearts and minds. He will lead us to see jesus, to see hope, and to find peace. He can lead us to know rest. We only need to come in jumble honesty and share our struggles.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, there is no sin too great, no clutter too big, the Lord can give aid. We need only come to Him.

He wants our hearts to be clean, He wants us to welcome Jesus, and know the wondrous love that sent Him to earth. The Lord will renew a right spirit within us as He did David.

More important than a clean home at Christmas is a clean heart ready for Jesus. Do you need a right spirit within? Different versions word this verse differently, some say “loyal” spirit, another says “steadfast” spirit, another says a “faithful” spirit and still another says “a right attitude.”  I want my spirit to be loyal to the Lord, I want to live out faithfulness, and not be divided because of the clutter within. I want my attitude to be right. What about you?

Wherever your heart and spirit are at, take it all to the Lord. Ask Him to be at work in you to help you find your all-in-all in Jesus this Christmas!

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How Will You Wait?

Advent is a time of preparation.

We prepare for Christmas in our homes.

We prepare for Christ in our hearts as we remember His birth.

There is waiting in the midst of the preparation.

We wait for gifts we ordered online to come in the mail.

We wait for the day to put up the tree.

We wait for the right time to get our baking done.

We wait for the best sales to complete our shopping.

We wait to see what special gift our loved ones will surprise us with.

There is much anticipation as we wait, whether at Christmas or any time in life.

Waiting for the perfect gift, waiting for God to bring about that transformation, waiting for the answer to our prayer, whatever it is, waiting is hard.

Isaiah 64:4 tells us something special about waiting, specifically about waiting for God. It says:

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”

God acts on behalf of those who wait for him. He wants us to wait for Him. It is when we wait for Him, and when we do not try to grab the gift before it is given, that He acts on our behalf. It is when we wait that He brings about His best plans and intentions for His children.

I want to share 4 things to remember as you wait for the Lord. We, His children, look to Him with hope and anticipation as we pray and seek His will. We desire to see Him work on our behalf.

As you wait:

1. Wait with expectation.

2. Amble forward, have slow feet.

3. Involve yourself in serving Him.

4. Trust His timing.

Wait with expectation.

When you wait for the Lord to work on your behalf, wait with expectation. His promises are real, look for Him to act. It seems that when we aren’t expecting God to act, we aren’t really believing in the possibility of what He is able to do. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians that the Lord is able to do more than we can ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20). So, why wouldn’t we wait expectantly?

Amble forward, have slow feet.

When we wait for the Lord to work we need to amble forward, move with slow feet. It is too easy to want to try to manipulate and maneuver things into place ahead of the Lord. But take it slow, don’t rush to make it happen. When we go ahead of God we always end up with trouble. He, in his perfect wisdom, has it all under control. He knows what needs to take place in order to make it happen.

Involve yourself in serving Him.

While you wait fix your heart on serving Him. Show your love for Him by honoring Him with your service. Waiting doesn’t mean sitting idle. It doesn’t have to be a time of growing impatient and being filled with anxiety about the outcome. You can find great satisfaction in waiting on Him as you wait for Him.

Trust His timing.

While you wait, don’t fret, rest in His love, and trust His timing to be perfect. He knows exactly what you need, and exactly the precise moment you need it. He is our perfect God, He is our Father who gives good and perfect gifts. Why would we expect anything less? He gave us Jesus, the Savior of the world, our Redemption and Hope. He will not disappoint.

God’s gifts to us, His work on our behalf, always bring about deliverance, new hope, and the perfect fulfillment of His plan for our lives. We must only wait.

How will you wait?