and place him in a manger,
because there was
no room for them in the inn."
Luke 2:7 (NIV)
For the past couple of years, I've struggled with decorating for Christmas. After repeating the same tradition, year after year, it's lost some of its appeal. Honestly, it feels like a whole lot of work to put it all up and then take it all down.
Or course, decorating our home is one of our children's highlights of the season. And so, we decorate the tree, hang up the stockings and put the lights up outside. They become giddy with excitement when it's finally time to haul out the boxes of decorations.
I have to admit, having children really helps keep the "spirit of Christmas" alive in our hearts. Getting excited over Christmas as a child was fun, but, it really is more awe-inspiring as I watch the joy of season grow within my children. It gives me a completely new perspective.
I realized as I helped my children finish decorating our tree this year that part of my struggle has simply been allowing the world to define my meaning of Christmas. We all know the true meaning is to celebrate the gift of Jesus and what His birth means to all of God's children. But, when the shopping starts and the "to-do" list grows, it feels like just another tradition in great need of meaning.
This year, God is helping me to realign my focus and thinking to His. I feel Him asking me if I have room in my heart for Jesus. I have to admit, my heart has been feeling an awful lot like a messy stable lately. There's some serious cleaning out that needs to be done. Thankfully, my Creator is always up to the task.
I feel my Father's unconditional love remind me that His Son is not turned off by my stinky, dirty heart. He was born for those of us who are sinful, broken, poor and in need. That's me!
I'm in great need for my Savior and I'm humbled that despite my own sinfulness and need, He desires to not only visit my heart, but reside there. Because of my great love for Him, I in turn, desire to face the sinfulness in my own heart and do my part of the cleaning.
Bad attitudes, impatience, selfishness and laziness aren't the offerings I desire to lay at the feet of my King.
And so, as I enter into my favorite time of the year, my primary focus will be on preparing my heart for my precious Savior and loving those He has placed in my life.
It sounds like a great plan, doesn't it? But it's never as easy as it sounds. It's not something our human flesh can pull of on its own. Thankfully, we don't have to.
Friend, I pray that God would continue to bring our focus back to Him, His love for us and the gift of His Son, Jesus. He understands that we get busy and distracted and His grace always covers us. At the same time, He delights when we make an effort to stay connected with Him and keep our hearts open.
May we both receive fully the very best gift we can ever receive.
It is through the Christ Child, born in a manger in Bethlehem, that I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! I pray you are as well.