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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The Season of Hope

Hope…isn’t it exactly what we all need for this life here on earth?

The typical idea of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment, to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire”     (definition from Bible.org).

During the next few weeks you may hear your children saying, “I hope I get…” as they look forward to opening the gifts under the tree at Christmas.

During the next few weeks you may hear yourself saying, “I hope these weeks leading up to Christmas aren’t as busy as last year. I really hope to enjoy this season and not feel so overwhelmed.”

During the next few weeks you may hear your spouse saying, “I really hope that I get that bonus check to pay for all the food and gifts we’re intending to purchase.”

During the next few weeks you may hear your parent saying, “I really hope you kids will be able to be home for Christmas, last year we weren’t able to spend it together and it just wasn’t the same.”

We all are hoping for something, something that will satisfy our heart and bring us joy.

Our hope is a wish, a desire, an expectancy with much uncertainty about it.

The biblical usage of hope according to the words translated from Hebrew and Greek has an indication of certainty. When you read the word hope in Scripture it means  “a strong and confident expectation”   (definition from Bible.org).

There is a certain hope, a sure thing, a strong and confident expectation, one thing that we can count on, it is the Hope we have in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Christmas is the season of hope as we remember His birth, the fulfillment of a promise from long ago.

Isaiah 6:9 promises, “For unto us a child is born, Unto us a Son is given;  And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Luke 2:11 reveals the promise fulfilled 700 years later, “Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

The focus of all hope must be in Jesus, He is the only True Hope we have for all of life.

  • Jesus is our hope for peace in heart and mind.Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
  • Jesus is our hope for salvation and eternal life in heaven. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • Jesus is our hope because He is God. Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated “God with us.”
  • Jesus is our hope because He is love. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” John 13:34     “As the Father has loved me, so I love you. Abide in my love.” (Jesus speaking) John 15:9
  • Jesus is our hope because He is faithful. He will never fail us.   “Jesus Christ our faithful witness.”  Revelation 1:5           “God is faithful who has called us into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:9

This season seek to put your hope in Jesus Christ alone.