“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3)
How do you get ready for Christmas? A beautiful tree with ribbons and ornaments? Mantle decorations and table treatments? One too many trips to the mall or site visits to Amazon? In my case, guilty as charged.
We typically begin our Christmas planning right after October and start the set-up Thanksgiving week. Yes, we’re those people. We love Christmas and surrounding ourselves with physical reminders of the season.
We’re not alone. During the Christmas Season, everywhere we look there are signs of preparation: wreaths, store decorations, snowmen, plastic Santas and reindeer on the neighbors’ lawns … everyone has their own way of preparing for Christmas celebrations. Anticipation fills the air.
God also prepares. In fact, since the beginning He’s been preparing. His preparation also includes decorations and ornaments, although of a different sort. At times, His preparations have taken an entire people into captivity and exile. At other times, He leads new leaders onto mountain tops or into deserts. He has prepared by dressing elaborate temples with gold and fine linen, as well as lowly barn stalls with straw and rough hewn wood.
And God’s preparations have required much longer than a few hours over the weekend to set up. Countless people and many centuries were needed to unfold His perfect plan that mankind’s Savior would be born at a specific place and time, to a specific woman He anointed, in a specific town according to His prophetic instruction, to fulfill a specific mission at a perfectly appointed date.
This event was foretold, rehearsed for centuries, and planned by God at the origination of creation. And it is the very reason we celebrate Advent.
As early as Genesis 3:15, following the fall of Man in the aftermath of Eve’s temptation, God revealed the beginnings of His plan warning the serpent “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed.” These earliest foreshadowings of God’s prophesied the eventual conquest of the serpent by God’s chosen offspring. The offspring descended from a fallen woman and eventually born to a Virgin. A perfect preparation for a perfect answer to our frailties and imperfections.
The journey from Eden to Calvary was long, just as our own plans are often long. Of course, God’s plans infinitely overshadow our own. Still, we are asked to prepare. Every Christmas we remember Son of Man’s coming with decorations and carols and cards and presents. We prepare for his return in the season of Advent by remembering the past while anticipating the future.
The Most Important Preparation
Yet the most important preparation we can make every Advent Season – indeed, every day of the year – is to prepare our hearts and the hearts of those around us for what is to come. As Believers, we’re ordained to be God’s beacons in the here and now, offering a glimpse of eternity to those who will receive. Regardless of life’s distractions, no matter what we see or hear every day whispering to turn away from God, our charge is to prepare for the future.
God had the expanse of time to prepare us for the birth of His son. We aren’t given that luxury. Instead, our role is to share the miracle of Christmas every day to anyone and everyone we encounter. To those who have never experienced the joy of God’s love. To those who feel abandoned in the world. To those who have lost all hope.
We prepare for Christmas every year because God has prepared the way before us. As we remember this Advent Season, let us never forget the least of our brothers and sisters. Preparing our hearts means preparing theirs.
Today, tomorrow find someone you don’t know and wish them a Merry Christmas. Or tell a friend you love them, remembering with gratefulness what God’s love means to us all.