Prepare Him Room

A few years ago, my sister came up with a plan— a way for me to participate in our family Christmas gathering.  Since I lived more than two hours away and couldn’t drive, she and her husband planned to drive the more-than two hours to my church, pick me up, and then we would make our way down to my parents’ house.  We wanted it to be a surprise, so for a few weeks, I couldn’t say anything to anyone about our plans. 

In order to make this surprise trip possible, I had to make a lot of preparations before I left home.  I needed to pack a bag since I would be staying with my parents for a few days.  And since it was Christmas season, I had to be ready for the services at church.  I would be arriving home on Christmas Eve, and I wanted the house to be clean and tidy so my Christmas visitors would feel welcome and appreciated.  My sister and her husband would be staying with me upon the return trip home. 

So the day before I left for Minnesota, I hurried home from work, delaying lunch so I could make quick work of mopping the floor.  I didn’t have a broom at that time, so I dry-mopped once, and then used the wet-mop to catch any spots I had missed.  I did the dishes, dusted, vacuumed the carpet, and cleaned the bathroom.  By the time I finally responded to my hunger pangs, it was well-past 3:00, more than three hours since I had returned home from work.  I had been willing to sacrifice my physical comfort just so the house would be ready. 

I thought about that particular day when I heard a children’s message by one of my pastor friends.  The pastor asked the children if they would get excited if the President of the United States said he was coming to visit.  Would they hurry to get things done around the house?  Would they (or more like their parents) want things to be in perfect order?  The pastor pulled out a broom and proceeded to explain that he would sweep all of the floors in the house, the garage, and probably the driveway and cul-de-sac too.  He would want to make a good impression on the President, and no detail would escape him as he prepared for the President’s arrival. 

Then the pastor set aside the broom and turned to the children with an even more important question.  What would it be like if Jesus came?  You see, He already came, that first Christmas more than two thousand years ago.  But the reality is, He’s coming again. 

On the night Jesus was born, it seemed that the world was unprepared for the monumental event.  The Messiah’s coming had been prophesied, but I’m pretty sure no one expected the King to come as a tiny baby.  I think of the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away when they arrived in Bethlehem.  Instead of welcoming Jesus into the world, cozy in a warm guest room, Mary labored in childbirth within a humble stable. 

We sing this song almost every year at my annual Christmas concert; it’s called “Just a Girl.”  It tells the story of the innkeeper who sees Mary at the door and simply refers to her as “just a girl.”  But after he has turned Mary and Joseph away, he feels remorse, and he hovers outside the stable door, reflecting on what he has done.  “He’s just a babe,” the innkeeper laments.  “I could have found a room for them to stay; I’m so ashamed.”

Even though my pastor friend didn’t reference this song in his children’s message, I couldn’t help but make a connection.  Obviously, we weren’t there the night that Jesus was born.  We weren’t the innkeeper who missed the Savior right outside his door; we weren’t the shepherds who witnessed the sudden angelic visitation in the dark fields; and even though the wise men searched for the Christ child, we were not the ones to bring Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

We may not have been there that night, but one day, we will see His face.  It may be that we will pass away, and the first face we will see upon entering into eternity is the face of our Lord and Savior.  But perhaps Christ will come again before our time on earth is complete.  And unlike that first humble, quiet Christmas, no one will miss His coming.  All the world will know that He has returned and has come for those who believe. 

I don’t know about you, but I am excited for that day— whether it be the day I pass into eternity or the day He comes again.  I want to be fully ready— fullly prepared— for when that day comes.  Although I have confidence in my salvation, there is so much more that can be done in the days remaining.  Just as I cleaned the house in preparation for the Christmas holiday, may I also seek to honor Christ in the way I live my life.  May my love, hope, joy, and peace spring forth from the things I do and the people I interact with on a daily basis.  May I seek to find goodness, explore potential for happiness (yes, happiness), and open my heart to the work that God has for me. 

Take some time to read through my posts from this year, and I think you will see that God has been working in my heart and spirit, calling me to go deeper in my relationship with Him.  The days ahead will not be easy.  As I wrote back in May, it’s going to take some heart work, but I am ready.  In every moment and in every season, may my heart prepare Him room.  He is coming, and He is coming soon.  Let earth receive her King!          

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