Preparing for Christmas by David DeWitt
Preparing for Christmas
December 2, 2001
This is the time of year when everyone starts getting ready for Christmas. The stores are packed with people buying gifts. Elevators are filled with instrumental Christmas favorites. Those boxes packed away months ago are brought out and all of that lovely Christmas stuff is put out. The houses are decorated with lights and trimmings and yards become the showcases of Christmas splendor.
What do you do to prepare for Christmas?
When our children were young we would get the house ready for Christmas. Matter of fact our oldest son Adam would say our home turned into Christmas over night. All the decorations would be out and ready for that festive event. Another preparation for the big event was one of our members, every year would come a play Santa to our children, Marilee and I would love to watch the reaction on our boys faces when Santa would come into our living room and call out each of their names. Their eyes would be fixed and wide as half dollars as they opened their gifts. The boys would say in unison “Thank you Santa” What precious memories.
All of this is a great illustration of how God wants us to prepare for Christmas. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a personal cleansing. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a new arrangement of our priorities. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a decorating of the heart. When we truly prepare for Christmas, there is a receiving and giving of gifts.
I. The cleaning of the heart
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Matthew 5:8
The word “blessed” literally means happy in the original Greek. From this statement of Jesus we see that the pure in heart are the happy in heart. Why? Simply because they will one day see God. Now this sounds really simple, doesn’t it, because all that you need is a pure heart.
I don’t know about you but there are a lot of days when my I lose my temper over stupid and insignificant problems. I still fixate too much on things that are not important.Maybe none of this applies to you. Maybe, you aren’t like me and you have your life completely together in your life. Maybe you have no problem with this pure in heart issue. But for those of you, who are like me and still struggle with being pure in heart; I have a question? How can we become pure in heart? What do we have to do?
I have some extremely bad news for you; there is NOTHING you can do to make your heart pure! The good news is that God is the one who cleans the heart and all that you need to do is ask Him. David asked God for this exact thing: Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) God granted David’s request and gave him a clean heart. He can do the same for you; all you need to do is ask Him.
II. The arranging of priorities
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
An essential part of preparing for Christmas involves re-arranging. Just as we arranged our homes, schedules and other aspects of our lives for Christmas. God wants us to arrange our hearts for Christmas. His desire is for you to make more room for His Son in the room of your heart.
When we make this extra room in the heart, God blesses us with more of Christ. It is then that the blessings of God begin to rapidly flow into our lives and overflow into the lives of others. When we put Christ in the center of our lives, everything else comes together.
When Jesus made this statement of seeking the kingdom of God first, he was giving the antidote for worry. Jesus makes it clear that if we are to succeed in life; our focus must be on God first.
We become so busy celebrating the season that we totally miss the reason for the season! We become centered on shopping for the right gifts and forget to tell others of God’s perfect gift. We are not prepared for Christmas until our priorities are in line.
III. The decorating of the heart
What does God do to decorate a heart?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
God decorates a heart by gutting the old and creating something new. When decorates a heart he must have complete control over the whole life. Far too often, we only give God partial control and we only allow Him to make the changes that we approve. God’s desire is to take your life and make it even more beautiful. God wants to add value to your life.
God wants only the very best for your life and he wants to be the influence of your life. However, he waits for you to give Him permission to begin the work. God desires to decorate your life with his blessing and give you something completely new.
IV. The receiving and giving of gifts
A. The receiving of gifts
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12
John speaks of those who received Christ. The Greek meaning of the word “receive” means “to welcome” or “to accept.” John is making it clear that we are to welcome Christ into our lives. This receiving is not just for part or some of our life but rather it is for every area of our life.
Christ must also be believed. To believe in the name of Jesus means to put faith in Him as a person and in what he represents. The simple act is life changing and transforming because we become children of God.
God has given us an incredible gift. By faith, in Christ, we can become children of God. When we accept Christ we are ushered into God’s family. John says that through Christ we are given the right to become children of God. Literally we are given permission to join God’s family. By faith in Christ, we become a part of eternity. Our citizenship is changed and we gain an interest in heaven. Our position in life is changed. We gain a dwelling place in heaven and divine grace from God the Father.
B. The giving of gifts
One of the greatest joys of Christmas is found in giving. It is indeed better to give than to receive. I don’t always enjoy the shopping or the wrapping of gifts but I love to give the gifts. The same may be true for you. You love to watch others tear through the wrapping. You love to watch their face light up. You love to hear the words “It’s just what I wanted!”
It might surprise you but this applies to Christ as well. There is great joy when you give a gift to Christ. What does Christ want from you?
My child, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways. Proverbs 23:26
The greatest gift you can give to Christ is yourself
So, where are you with your preparations for Christmas? Are there some areas of your heart that need to be cleaned? Maybe you need to rearrange some things to make more room for Christ in your life? Perhaps your heart is fairly barren and needs some of God’s blessings for decorations. Have you received the gift of Christ and have you given Him your heart.
This year the wonder of Christmas can come alive for you in brand new ways if you will open your heart and allow God to prepare you for Christmas.