Prepare

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

“Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!” (Mark 1:3).

Are you ready for Christmas?

It’s a little early in our journey to ask that question. After all, we’ve got another three weeks to buy gifts, wrap presents, make candy, decorate the tree, put up the lights, go to parties, watch a thousand holiday specials on TV, and otherwise do the things we have to do to be ready for Christmas.

That’s a very modern way to put it.

But that’s not the preparation Isaiah was talking about. He was thinking of a man named John the Baptist who called Israel to repentance. If you read the rest of Mark 1, you’ll discover that he wore a garment made of camel’s hair (not a pleasant feeling on the skin) and he ate locusts, which you probably won’t eat at any Christmas party this month.

He was an unusual man, to say the least.

But that’s how God works. The nation flocked to the wilderness to hear this strange man telling them to get ready for the coming of the Lord.

Let’s suppose you are having a Christmas party tonight. You’ve already sent out your invitations, you’ve been getting the house ready, you have festive Christmas treats prepared, you’ve picked out your outfit, and soon your guests will arrive.

What would you do if Jesus showed up to your party?

Would you be glad to see him?
Would he be welcome in your home?

Robert Boyd Munger wrote a little booklet called My Heart, Christ’s Home in which he imagines the believer’s heart as a home with many rooms. The heart has a living room, a dining room, a bedroom, a kitchen, a computer room, a TV room, many closets, and an attic. Many believers keep Christ in the entryway, as if to say, “Jesus, I’ve got you in the door. Now stay there and don’t bother the rest of my life.” But the Lord wants to enter every room. He wants to enter your kitchen, your bedroom, your library, your TV room, your computer room, and he wants access to every closet and even to the “attic” of your heart. As long as you keep the doors locked, he can never be “at home” in your heart. And you will never be happy as a Christian.

The question is not, “How much of the Lord do I have?” but rather, “How much of me does the Lord have?” Early in this Advent season, before we get any busier than we already are, it’s time to do some housekeeping of the heart. We need to “declutter” our soul by getting rid of things that hinder us from welcoming the Lord.

When Revelation 3:20 talks about Jesus standing at the door and knocking, it means he’s waiting for us to welcome him once again.

It’s time to get ready. Jesus is coming!
Can you hear him knocking at your door?

Lord Jesus, I long to know you better. Come in and make yourself at home in every part of my heart. Amen.

Musical bonus: Let’s begin our Advent musical journey with this acapella version of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

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Originally published December 01, 2017.

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