For most people, when they put up their Christmas tree for the holiday season, they have to decide how to rearrange the furniture in the room where the tree will be located. With the addition of a tree, then something usually has to change. There is not enough room. A Christmas tree can take up considerable space. At least once a year, you have to rearrange the furniture.
The season of Advent, the days leading up to Christmas day, is a time of preparation. With the birth of our Lord on the horizon, we have to make ourselves ready for his arrival. In the 40th chapter of the book of the Prophet Isaiah, Isaiah call the people to prepare for the arrival of their God. Isaiah proclaimed:
A voice cries out:
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah’s words call for a time of preparation. In dramatic language, Isaiah speaks about valleys being lifted up, mountains being made low, the uneven ground becoming level, and rough places a plain. With the arrival of God, the very landscape of the land will be changed and transformed. The greatness of God must be made ready to receive.
As we countdown the days till Christmas, we are given an opportunity to consider the arrangement of our lives, our values, and our priorities. With the birth of Jesus, we realize that our lives cannot remain the same. Jesus’ entrance into our lives causes us to reexamine the landscape of our lives, rid ourselves of those things that get in the way of his coming, and change those parts of our lives that might not honor him. This is the biblical language of repentance. Repentance means to turn around or turn back. Just as we prepare our homes for Christmas, we must prepare our hearts for Christmas by repenting and turning back to God. We must rearrange the furniture of our lives to make room for the Bethlehem babe.
Yet, unlike our Christmas tree, which will eventually be taken down and the room restored to its prior state, in Jesus, we change not for a season but for a lifetime. The birth of Jesus at Christmas is more than a season; but it represents an entirely new way of living. Jesus must now take the most prominent place in our hearts and lives every day. Let us get ready and do what we need to do, to welcome him into our world and our lives.