Prepare Him Room
(This post inspired by the song "Prepare Him Room" by Paul Baloche. Check it out here.)
Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare him room, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven and nature sing, And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
The birth of Christ never ceases to amaze me. That Jesus would allow Himself to be restrained by a human body, let alone a baby's body, is an unspeakable wonder.
Jesus, by whom all things were created, for whom all things were created. Jesus, who holds all things together. Jesus, the image of the invisible God.
This same Jesus willingly entered the filth of a sin-stained humanity in utter humility.
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords makes His grand entrance onto the globe without the majesty that is due Him. Rather, not regarding His equality with God a thing to be asserted, He emptied Himself, entering our world with nothing. Wrapped in rags, laid to rest among animals, greeted by lowly shepherds. Most of us, welcomed by announcements, baby showers, and gifts, were born with more pomp and ceremony than Jesus.
Why did He come this way? Why not descend to earth as a 30 year old man, coming to preach and then to die for sins? We must understand that Jesus didn't simply come to pay the penalty of our sins. He came to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves: live a righteous life.
No matter how hard we try, even as redeemed children of God, we will not be completely free from sin in this life. Every decision, every action, every heart motive is tainted with ferocious self-centeredness. (If we deny we have sin, 1 John deems us liars.) We have no hope to live a righteous life. Yet righteousness is required to have fellowship with God!
So how can we be righteous?
"For as through the one man's disobedience (Adam) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus) the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:19
Jesus was perfectly obedient from the womb so that we could be made righteous. There's a reason He came as a baby. He came to do what we cannot do for ourselves: live a righteous life.
Jesus was tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15) He experienced the temptation to take a toy from his sibling as a toddler, the temptation to talk back to his parents as a teenager. He was tempted in all phases of life as we are from infancy to adulthood.
What was He doing for those 30 years before His public ministry? Jesus was earning for us a perfect record, a righteous life, a complete obedience to the law. Jesus did the arduous, menial, and crucial work of obedience for 30 years. Thanks be to God that we can now say with Paul, "I may be found in Jesus, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith." (Phil 3:9)
What joyous celebration Christmas is! A relief to my perfectionism, it is a celebration that God sent His Son to be my righteousness and pay for my sins! He lived the life I cannot live and died the death that I deserve so that I could know God through Him! "This is eternal life: that we might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." John 17:3
With such stunning truths, why does joy, true fullness of joy, seems to elude us? Instead of being full of joy, we are often full of anxiety, disappointment, fear, and envy. Why does the joy of knowing Jesus seem like sand, incredibly difficult to grasp?
Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare him room,
I love that line: let every heart prepare Him room! This reminds me of how I prepare for guests to stay with us. I wash the sheets, make the bed, buy fresh flowers, clean the bathroom, turn on the lamps, buy extra food, and you get the picture. I make space in my house and in my schedule before they arrive and create a welcome environment for my guests and finally wait with anticipation for them to arrive.
Maybe the reason we don't experience the fullness of joy so boldly promised in Psalm 16:11 is that we fail to make room for the source of this joy: His presence. Most of our lives are so full already that we are only squeezing God in when we have the chance. We've filled every corner with busyness and activity that there's no room for the very glory of Christmas: "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Some of us, still trying to earn our righteousness, are full of religious activities. Some of us, trying to impress others, are also full of religious activities. Others of us are full of work or mindless entertainment. And almost all of us fill in the cracks and crevices with twitter and instagram and Facebook. Where is the room for Jesus? Where is there space for the presence of God?
Let every heart prepare Him room! Let's clear some space in our hearts, our minds, and our schedules for Jesus this Christmas.
What might this look like? Let's keep with the guest room analogy. It starts with cleaning out the clutter. What has taken up space in your life and squeezed God out? Then make ready that empty space for the One who is coming. Set aside time in your day to hear from God and meet with Him. Just like my guests, He might not "show up" just as soon as you make ready the room. But wait with anticipation, He will reveal Himself to those who wait for Him. If you prepare a place for Jesus in your life, He will come! "Indeed, none of those who wait for Him will be ashamed!" (Ps 25:3)
Christ by highest heav'n adored Christ the everlasting Lord! Late in time behold Him come Offspring of a Virgin's womb Veiled in flesh the Godhead see Hail the incarnate Deity Pleased as man with man to dwell Jesus, our Emmanuel Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"
Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris'n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"
Merry Christmas friends!