The song, Joy to the World, one of my favorite Christmas hymns, commands that “every heart prepare Him room.” This hymn talks about singing with joy, experiencing joy, and making room in our hearts for the One who will give us true joy. The simple notion that we must prepare a place made me think and ask: “How do I prepare Him room?”
What does it mean to prepare for something or someone? I think of what life events take the most preparation. Planning to get married or planning for the birth of a child have to be at or toward the top of the list for most people. Both events take preparation. There are necessities to purchase or buy, invitations or announcements to send out, and venues and the aid of professional services to secure.
How does this correlate to preparing room in our hearts for the King of Kings?
When we prepare for something, we consciously think about it, lay out a plan, and make room in our lives for this something. When we prepare for the person of Christ, in a way we do the same thing. We think about who he is and why he came. We lay out the nativity and the story of Jesus, examining it from the manger to the cross. We consider what His actions, sacrifice, and love mean to our lives. And in the end we know why we rejoice: He has come to redeem mankind from the wages of sin—death and restore our relationship to the Father. Without this joy of salvation, hopelessness threatens to cling to our days like Scrooge’s portent phantom of his future demise. (I read A Christmas Carol last night. It seemed an apt metaphor.)
But instead we can rejoice, as the angels commanded the shepherds to do thousands of years ago. “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:10-13 NKJV
My prayer of preparing room: I wrote this last night while in my bedroom, sitting in my cozy blue chair in the corner, where I do my best thinking and writing. I went with what I could see to give me inspiration for this prayer.
This Christmas help me to make room for You in my life every day. I often think of my heart as a home, and its workings, rooms. I see myself rearranging the furniture in the rooms of my heart to prepare a place for You, for Your joy to be my joy.
If my heart were a figurative bedroom, I would shift over my vanity where I apply layers of paltry surface coverings to try to hide my flaws and faults. I hope I reflect more of You and less of me in the mirror that I hold to my face. Thank You that Your love covers a multitude of sins.
I will tidy up the floor of my bedroom-heart and hang up my emotions, which fall like soiled clothing in littered piles, needing to be laundered. Thank You that the gifts of Your spirit which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, can be mine if I choose them to be.
Give me courage and faith to keep getting out of bed, smoothing the bedclothes as I do, to look forward to the gift of each day despite its challenges. Whether it be sunny or dreary, stormy, or calm, I will look to You to help me navigate the days to come.
Dear reader, may you take time this Christmas season to prepare room in your hearts for the Joy Incarnate and pray your own prayer of preparation.