Welcome to Week Two of the Advent season. Today we will explore the liturgy of preparation. Before moving on, I hope and pray you invited someone to join you on this journey.
This year I invited my grandkids and kids to take part in gaining a new understanding of Christmas and the time leading up to the birth of Jesus. I’ll let you know how it goes.
I am the person who loves being prepared. My wish is for every little detail to be accounted for and ironed out before the event, activity, trip, etc. I wonder if you can relate to this too?
Preparing looks overwhelmingly like checking my list multiple times to make sure I did not miss anything important.
There is some merit to this method in some situations such as packing for a trip overseas. But when it comes to the season of Advent, I’m not sure that over-preparing is the answer.
What Does Preparation Look Like for You?
Think back to last year’s Christmas, a party you hosted, or a trip you planned. What were the key elements that went into each activity that were nonnegotiables for you?
I hinted above that I am of the persuasion that more planning is better. When I cannot predict and plan for every little detail, I do not feel prepared.
But what if the details we are preparing for are ones that are out of our control? Are you okay with that? (I think you know what my answer will be.)
What if in the planning for your event you decide you need help? Or would you rather let spontaneity take over the details? Is that okay in your world?
Now let’s put preparation into the framework of Advent. Preparation takes on a whole new meaning in this context.
We are living Advent lives now as people who have the ability to choose to become Advent people or not. Our lives fall into the middle and the not yet of the time between when Jesus was born and when He will come again.
The key is that we are waiting for Jesus to come again. We do not know when or how exactly that is going to happen.
How do you prepare when you don’t have a specific time in mind?
Preparing Our Hearts in the Uncertainty
I left you all with a big question above. It’s one that will drive me crazy if I let it. One of the biggest anxiety-inducing causes for me is not knowing the how, when, where, etc.
Celebrating Advent and understanding the season has led me into a deeper relationship with God. It has relieved some of the anxiety that I carry because God is with me.
Advent is a time of preparation. For many of us, this is when we get our houses ready for Christmas, bake our favorite cookies, and buy presents for our loved ones.
All of these things are good, but let’s not forget the most important piece–preparing our hearts.
When uncertainty is the name of the game, I find that opening my heart to more time with God leads me toward Him instead of toward consumerism.
I’m proposing we try the following this year:
- Lean into all God is ready to teach you during this season and beyond. Proverbs 3:5 says it best: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
- Listen, really listen during the time you spend with God. This is one I forget to do too many times. Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD (Psalm 34:11, NLT).
- Learn who you are and how to prepare your heart for Advent living. “Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!” (Luke 3:4, NLT)
Let’s pray together through the liturgy of preparation.
Liturgy of Preparation
Come, Lord Jesus come as we open our hearts to more of You through these weeks dedicated to Your coming and the ones beyond.
As we prepare our homes for the holidays keep us focused on the “why” we celebrate Christmas.
Let us become people who lean in, listen, and learn from You, Lord. Our time trying to slow down makes us aware of what we can let go of to make more room for You. Make space on our “to-do” lists, in our hearts, and with what we believe we need to accomplish during the holidays.
Show us the way to You and the peace You brought as a newborn two thousand years ago. May we discover that HOPE is always present in You Jesus.
Thank you for this time of preparation and space to draw closer to You. AMEN.
Intentionally leaning in and choosing Jesus this Advent season!
Check out these posts to become more familiar with Advent.
An Invitation to Advent Living
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Mary, I’m thinking back to last year, when we were planning to visit my mother-in-law for Christmas (my father-in-law had just passed away in November). I was preparing for our trip, and I knew it would help her to have us there. And then my daughter got Covid and we had to stay home. I guess my point is that maybe part of “preparing Him room” is holding all the other plans and preparations loosely, knowing that God will make a way for what truly needs to happen during this season. Including those quiet moments–planned or forced–of rest and reflection. 🙂
Thank you for these beautiful thoughts. I agree that preparation is holding our plans loosely because God’s plan is always the best. We may not agree with His plans but they are always for our good.
This is so helpful, Mary. I am trying to think of all the “preparations” I make as a backdrop for the real work of Advent. So my decorating, baking, and writing are becoming heart preparation for a meeting with Jesus around the Truth of his coming and the hope of his return.
It’s wonderful to be making this journey with like-minded friends.
I love how you are choosing intentionality in what your “decorating” time looks like. Preparing our hearts does not mean we need to give up the holiday traditions we normally choose. It is choosing our focus while we are preparing our hearts and homes for the holidays.
Thank you, Mary, for this hope-filled post encouraging us to let go of needing to know the how, when, and where and to lean into, listen to, and learn from the Lord Himself! Love and blessings to you!
Isn’t it just like God to ask us to trust Him completely as we journey through our lives? For me as a planner, this is an area I find difficult. I hope you surrender it all to God and find yourself surprised by the result.