‘Tis the season … of Advent: the arrival of a notable person or event. Although the word does not appear in the Bible, the Church has traditionally adopted it to refer to the four weeks prior to Christmas when we are encouraged to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. But what does this actually mean? How do we prepare our hearts for this most notable Person?
It occurred to me that the process would be similar to the way we prepare for guests expected at our home.
1. We extend our invitation, often very informally. The idea is to make our guest know they are wanted and welcomed. Similarly, we can express to Jesus our desire to be with Him, make our meetings with Him intentional, invite Him into our daily lives.
2. We would then thoughtfully create a comfortable and pleasing environment for our guests. Playing background music. A fire in the hearth. Decorations on the table. Their favorite food. Some ideas for creating a ‘pleasing aroma’ for Our Lord are playing spiritual music/singing to Him, reciting His attributes, reading aloud His Word, offering sacrifices of praise. Worshiping Him.
3. We carve out quality time for our guests, blocking out the noise of daily life and curtailing - even forgoing – other activities in order to focus our attention on our guests. Jesus delights in being with us daily and in our focused attention on Him. Our relationship with Him grows best in a quiet place, alone with Him where we can hear His voice through His Word and His Spirit.
4. Rich communication is a part of growing any relationship. By listening intently to our guests, sharing together our hopes, fears - our lives – we are cementing our bonds with each other. Similarly, by honestly communicating our hopes, fears – our lives – with Jesus, we grow in recognition of our need for Him and His grace and love for us. And by agreeing with Him regarding our sins and offering Him ourselves as living sacrifices, we are cooperating with Him as He transforms us into the likeness of His Son.
This is Our Savior's desire. This is what pleases and honors Him. This is how we prepare our hearts for Him … in any season.
- Kathi Fritz