December 23, 2009

A Peaceful Advent

Looking back over the past 4 weeks, I can say this has been one peaceful Advent. Sure, it's been filled with it's share of Christmas parties and busyness of the season, but never before have I been this ready for Christmas - and by ready I mean prepared in my heart.

My good friend, Anna, said something in the beginning of Advent that really struck a cord with me. She said she didn't just want to be prepared for Christmas on the outside, but inside, in her heart, as well. As I result, I turned inward to see what type of Christmas preparations I had done or were preparing to do: my shopping was done, our Advent wreath and Christmas tree were up, our Advent calendar was raring to go, and we had holiday plans made. However I realized I had spent little time thinking of how I was going to prepare my heart, not just my home, for Christmas. We did have an Advent wreath and calendar, I thought, but then I looked even deeper to discover that Jesus was asking me to open my heart in prayer.

At the beginning of Advent I asked the Lord to make a place in my heart for Him to come. I wanted my heart to be wrapped and decorated as beautifully as my home and the gifts I have for others. I wanted the Lord to be given the same, or even more, attention than what I was giving to physically prepare for Christmas day. I hope that Jesus finds a suitable place to dwell in me, because He deserves the very best.

It was then I made a commitment to getting my prayer life back on track. Just about everyday, after Avila went down for her nap, I opened an Advent prayer book I had, and prayed. Nothing fancy, but I simply spent time with our Lord. A little Scripture reading, a little time in meditation, and a little bit of dwelling on the mysteries of Christ's coming. And it's true that if you give the Lord even just a "little bit," He gives you back a hundred-fold. "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38.

In turn for giving Jesus just a "little bit" He has given me this peaceful time leading up to the celebration of His coming. He has turned my heart towards the simple things of Christmas - the things that really matter. And for the first time what I am most looking forward to is not presents or food or time with family, but rather the celebration of that first Christmas day. For the true meaning of the season is Christ, and if we make this our focus, we can experience Christmas in a way like never before.

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