We lit the second Advent candle today …the Bethlehem Candle. It lights the way in preparing for the arrival …the arrival of the Holy house guest — the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Mary and Joseph had very little to call their own as they traveled to Bethlehem. The law required them to make their way to be counted but counting the cost of this journey of bringing the Savior of all mankind into the neighborhood would be priceless.
How do you prepare for someone when you feel you have so little? The rooms were full. There was no vacancy. Those who had more time, more money, more friends in high places, more networks, more credit — they got the good rooms first.
Mary and Joseph had done their preparation ahead of time though. It wasn’t a preparation of blankets and money and food but a preparation of a different kind. It had started in their hearts.
Preparation always begins in the heart.
A heart of prayer and surrender …a heart of awe and gratitude … a heart of “Thy will be done” …a heart willing to say yes …a heart of sacrifice and letting go …a heart fixed on the Father …a heart of wonder and amazement …a heart of love.
You see, while others were worried and anxious about the physical preparations needed for the journey ahead, Mary and Joseph had accomplished the most important preparation in advance of the trip. They had surrendered to the will of their good Father.
Saying “Yes” to God prepared them for the “no room in the inn” they would hear later. Our “yes” to God prepares us for life’s “no’s” as well. No normal. No money. No family nearby. No answer. No relief. No job. No dream-come-true. No room at someone else’s table. No call-back. No invitation. No…
And yet, the heart is always the first place to prepare for Peace on Earth to arrive.
As I lit the second Advent candle — the Bethlehem Candle or Candle of Faith and Love– I noticed the story going on a little further down the road. The Prophecy Candle revealed the Old Testament prophecies foretelling the birth of the Messiah and the Bethlehem Candle gave light to the preparation for His arrival. Looking on in the distance, I could see the prophecy fulfilled in the manger scene as Mary and Joseph look lovingly over the newborn Christ-child; however, as my eyes scanned a little further, I could see the crosses hanging on my wall …a reminder of the full extent of God’s love would involve in sending His only Son into the world.
This was not an easy preparation. This would come with much joy …and much suffering as well. This heart-yes would bring heart-break. And yet … and yet …they said yes! God said yes. Mary and Joseph said yes.
And now it’s our turn. Will we say yes to the Father and prepare our hearts to receive Him? Will we say yes and prepare our hearts for the journey He is calling us to? Will we say yes to the uncomfortable? the unpredictable? the “no room” situations? the unusual revelations?
It’s the heart preparation that ultimately gives peace. Peace is a person and that person is Jesus.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And when Peace comes, Peace promises He will always be with you.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Consider your own heart preparation by preparing a simple space this week to meditate on one passage of Scripture each day …simple …pause …reflect …savor the moments …preparing Him room in your heart.
Further reading as you journey through the Advent Season :: Week 2