"Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, 'Come, Lord Jesus!' Amen." -- A Prayer of Henri J.M. Nouwen
As you prepare for Christmas shopping, resolutions to "do better" and decorations to be comfortable and full of Christmas cheer, do not forget that our merciful God is always with us, always coming. Remember that this is a season of waiting - not merely in expectation of Christ's nativity, which has already happened - but also for His second coming to rule, judge and save. We pray for His kingdom come. There is Christmas cheer and joy in this season, as we have much to be thankful for, but there is also a longing and lament that helps us prepare for Jesus' coming -- an honest reflection and confession that we cannot clean ourselves up. We are in great need of a savior. And what a savior we have been given! What follows this longing is Christmastide -- full of light, joy and celebration.
In the midst of Christmas clutter and setting your own goals in preparation for the new year, I hope you set aside time to be quiet and full. Walk your dog late at night to get some fresh, cold air in your lungs. Sit around a fire with friends and tell them layers of your life they do not know about. Watch the sunrise and be reminded that His mercies are new every morning. Meet someone new at a bar, park or coffee shop and wish them a Merry Christmas. Go caroling. Drive to the ocean and remember His expansive love, boundless grace and recount His promises to you. Remember that He came into the muck and mess of our world to restore His people to Himself, and that before He flung the entire world into existence, He knew when He would enter it, and when He would leave it. Come thou long expected Jesus! Come, Emmanuel.
And while you pray for a prepared heart this Christmas season, enjoy this incredible cover of Little Drummer Boy by Pentatonix. :) I promise it will put you in the Christmas spirit.