“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3 (NIV)
Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Titus 2:13 (ESV)
Forty-seven years ago today I was anxiously waiting for the birth of our first daughter, not knowing that she would arrive exactly on her due date of December 1. The nursery was completely ready but there was still much to accomplish. I defrosted the freezer and cleaned the oven; I stripped the wax from the kitchen floor and rewaxed it; I washed all the windows inside and out; I was nesting, getting ready with great excitement to meet our baby. Three years later the process repeated itself with the birth of our second daughter, and six years after that our third daughter was born. With each anticipated birth I spent time getting ready, preparing our home and our family for the arrival of a much-loved baby. We did not know in advance whether we were having a boy or a girl, and at times, the waiting seemed interminable.
God has reminded me of those days of happy expectation this week as my youngest granddaughter helped me decorate the house for Christmas. Arranging candles just so, hanging the stockings from the mantle, and setting up the Nativity scene brought out all her creative gifts. Later, when it was all done and the tree glowed with lights and ornaments while candles flickered throughout the dark room, we settled down for a tea party, complete with Earl Grey and butter cookies, simply enjoying being together. This house was ready for Christmas. All we had to do now was wait.
As I later hugged my granddaughter goodbye, however, I wondered, am I ready for Christmas. I don’t mean the presents I still need to buy and wrap or the cookies I need to bake. Those things will be accomplished. But is my heart ready with excited anticipation to celebrate the greatest gift ever given, the coming of Jesus, and is my heart ready with certain expectation for the return He promised in John 14:3. I want to be ready. I want to be actively waiting and just as diligent in preparing my heart for Christmas as I was in preparing my home for the arrival of my daughters. I want my heart to shine with His light, so much brighter than my twinkling Christmas tree, and I want to settle down in intimate fellowship with Him this Christmas season.
I am asking God to decorate my heart each week with an ornament that will continually reflect His glory to the darkness of this present world and to help me give away an ornament each week as I wait for His coming this Christmas season.
- Week 1-The Ornament of HOPE: Hope is built on the firm foundation of God’s truth and His character and waiting in hope involves confident expectation.
- Meditate on Romans 15:13 and Hebrews 10:23 and journal a prayer of hope to God
- Send a card to someone who is grieving right now
- Week 2-The Ornament of FAITH: Faith is the complete trust and confidence in God; it is knowing that God is in control and what He promises, He will fulfill.
- Read and meditate on Hebrews 11 and journal your own faith story
- Make a sacrificial gift of faith this week (time, a meal, a donation)
- Week 3-The Ornament of JOY: Joy and happiness are not the same. Joy is dependent on who Jesus is and not on our circumstances.
- Read and meditate on Isaiah 9:6 and journal through one of the attributes of Jesus
- Smile and speak a kind word to a stranger (store clerk for example), and write a note of blessing to someone in your family
- Week 4-The Ornament of LOVE: God is love, and we love because He first loved us. Love is a gift of grace and mercy.
- Read and meditate on Luke 1 & 2, and write a love letter to God
- Plan an outing to look at Christmas lights with homemade hot chocolate and Christmas cookies
Jesus, Come, O Come Immanuel! Let my heart be prepared to welcome You with the adoration of hope, faith, joy, and love. Let me wait in anxious expectation to celebrate You this Christmas season, and let me actively wait with certain anticipation for Your coming again!©