I think about some of the big things I’ve prepared myself for in my life. In college I had to write and defend a senior thesis, which I started the first day of class and poured myself into until the day I defended it. I read over 20 books, met with a professor about it weekly, went through many re-writes, and had several others proof it for me. It was a ton of work, but it all paid off. As an athlete, I’ve also learned the value of preparation. The more work I put in during the months leading up to a big race the more prepared I feel. I love getting to the finishing stretch, seeing my time is going to be right on target, and still having energy in the tank. Thats the ultimate testimony to my preparation having been spot on.
A phrase I often hearing leading up to Christmas is “we need to prepare our hearts for Christmas.” What does this mean, and how do we actually prepare ourselves for Christmas? To prepare for Christmas means that we take steps in our lives to turn our attention from all the worldly hustle and bustle to focus on God. Jeremiah 29:13 puts it this way: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. This means that we need to truly take the time to reflect on what it is God did for us that Christmas night two millennia ago, and indeed what He continues to do for us.
What does this look like? Well, it can take a lot of different forms, but let me give you a few examples.
- Spend time in deep prayer: I’m not talking about “God, bless this food, Amen.” I’m talking about blocking out 15 minutes or more to really spend time with God. Share what’s going on in your life: the good and the bad. Share what you need, and be open to how God may move you to meet the needs of others. Let God’s love pour over you, and remember how much he cares about your life and eternity.
- Get into scripture: Read about Christmas and Easter in scripture. Don’t just read the words, but think about what God was up to. Here is God, the creator and sustainer of all things, chasing to leave heaven to be with us and to die for us. Are you letting the significance
- Spend time in silence: Ok, we’re guys so we probably all dread such an exercise. But seriously gents, we need to spend some time in silence contemplating what God has done for us, what He is calling us to do, and we are (or are not) responding to that call in life. We need to really reflect on how our walk with God is, and be ready to make changes if we need to.
Want to really get the most out of Christmas this year? Then put in the preparation this week. You’ll be glad you did!