Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

Well, there are twelve days left in the actual season of Christmas and I decided I wanted to share a thought each day with those of you who have found any inspiration in my writing. I spent an hour and a half yesterday typing my thoughts for the first day and immediately lost them in cyberspace. I was so discouraged, I almost decided to toss the idea of sharing anything at all. Since this can sometimes be my MO, I have overcome my tendency to give in to feeling I've failed and push through the idea that my words must be perfect.

Last week during corporate worship at my church, we were singing a familiar Christmas carol when one of the phrases seemed to be highlighted for me on the screen. "Let every heart prepare Him room," a phrase I've sung for at least the last 50 years of my life at the Christmas season. Suddenly, it seemed so personal..."every" meaning each person is being asked to allow Christ to find room in their own individual heart. For days after, I found myself repeating this thought in my mind. I'm sure it found its way somewhere in my subconscious miind where it tucked itself away until a more opportune time to reappear with greater clarity.

I grabbed my morning coffee and climbed into my comfy chair for a time of silence and solitude... something I'd been missing over the last two months. The lights on my tree were blinking and I felt cozy and ready for a time of peaceful reflection. It was then that I glanced over to see that for the second time in a week my Nativity had been rearranged by my grandchildren. The first time I found it this way, I waited until they went home to move all the figures back into their proper places. As I looked upon the scene this time, however, I pondered this in my heart perhaps in the same way Mary may have pondered the many questions about her future as the mother of the Messiah. Now, certainly I am not saying this in any way comes close to the level of commitment or questioning that the mother of Jesus experienced but I certainly believe we all find times when we question our heart motives and our commitment to this thing we call Christianity.

 Standing up, I walked over to see for the very first time, the beautiful Fontanini figurines and the awe and adoration on the faces of Mary and Joseph. All the shepherds, and others who came from the fields along with the wise men surrounded baby Jesus' manger, tucked in so tight, one could not have found room for another figure to fit inside the creche  if one tried. This collector's creche was given to me by my mother, piece by piece, and I have used it every Christmas for over twenty five years. Each year I have positioned the characters in much the same way, making sure the wise men stood and kneeled together and having in mind something that would present the best effect visually.

My first instinct was to move the pieces once again into the spots where I'd originally placed them. Instead, I returned to my chair where I heard once again the phrase, "Let every heart prepare Him room." And then the thought, "there was no room for Him in the inn." Surely, God was up to something as I pondered these thoughts and stared across the room at the people crowding inside the stable around the baby Jesus.

About an hour later, I opened Facebook and gasped as I saw the very first post at the top of the page. The following comment posted by my daughter about my grandchildren was the first thing I saw. "Love that every time I look at my nativity scene my kids have crowded all of the characters around baby Jesus as close as they can get them!" Certainly God was speaking to my heart today and I didn't want to miss what he was saying. I closed out of Facebook and sat quietly thinking of the purity and innocence of childlike faith. I opened my Bible to Luke 2 and read the Christmas story which I learned to recite as a small child. In verse 18 it says, "And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them." They obviously had to have an up close and personal experience to share a story that caused others to marvel and be astonished. Then in verse 19 it says, "But Mary was keeping within herself all these things and pondering them in her heart."

There are twelve days left until the day we celebrate Christmas Day and the birth of our Savior. I know God used the purity and innocence of my grandchildren to open my eyes to see my personal need to prepare a room Jesus in my heart this Christmas as never before. It is up to me whether I get an up close and personal seat near the manger bed. I can rearrange the creche and move the pieces back into positions that seem more attractive but what I really need is to position myself closer to the Savior this Christmas. Who knows whether my becoming more childlike in my view of the Nativity might incite astonishment and cause others to marvel at God's gift of Love?

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