Advent is all about preparing for the Christ child.
At the moment, I am in Hungary with a Christmas Market tour group. It has been very interesting to be here at the start of Advent. The Christmas markets typically do not start until December 1st because that is the day that begins the countdown to Christmas. There are Advent wreaths all around. Many home and store windows are decorated but I have hardly seen any “Santa” things. I don’t feel quite as bombarded with the commercialization of Christmas. Some stores and towns use large windows for the Advent calendar and each day a window is opened to reveal something special. The preparation helps the anticipation of baby Jesus.
There is a lot of preparation we Americans do in anticipation of Christmas. Being involved in a retail business that does a lot of business during this season, I need to be intentional about preparing my heart, particularly when time is short and the to-do list is long. I don’t often have a rhythm or predictable schedule but I might need to start scheduling it in because I think I might enjoy something that is consistent and dependable.
It is time to take a breath and relax and remember what this time is all about. How am I preparing my heart? How am I preparing me? Am I letting God soften the callouses and refocus my distracted thoughts?
How do you prepare?
Come, Lord Jesus.
If one isn’t into buying fully prepared meals at slow or fast food restaurants, one can buy food in any number of stages:
- Young plants
- Chopped and cleaned
I know I have purchased things in each of those stages at different times in my life. But I do think there is a creative and contemplative process when chopping and cooking things. It can be therapeutic. What can be purchased prepared may work just fine but it doesn’t allow the interaction with the ingredients and the process quite as much.
Preparation takes time.
Sometimes I am so busy preparing for the very next thing that I forget to prepare for other coming things. I tuck aside future prep for another day and, hopefully, a free moment in the future. That is certainly true when it comes to meals. But it also applies to other areas of my life.
Have you ever neglected to prepare your heart for the day? Have you been so pressed for time and the events of a particular season that you have missed an important time of preparation for your soul?
I encourage you to take time to prepare your heart for this week of Easter thoughts: The Last Supper, the empty tomb, and everything in between. Take time to read Scripture that recalls those events from Matthew, Mark, and Luke to see how they each remember the events. Explore the Old Testament prophets—what did they have to say? Allow yourself time to contemplate and give God time to work the soil of your heart. Let His words be yours as you read, ponder, and pray.
On the Road,
When we headed out on this trip we left winter in New York. I knew we were going to warmer weather so I didn’t pack a lot of clothes for cold temperatures. Sometimes, what it’s like where you have been isn’t at all how it will be where you are going.
Do you need what you have?
Do you have what you need?
What is essential for the journey? I find that I like to have quite a few things along with me when I travel “just in case”. Trying to be prepared for a trip and all possible scenarios of need can be exhausting. Of course, when I “need” something and I have it along, I am thrilled to know I am prepared. But trying to find it in the special place I tucked it away? Good luck! There is nothing worse than being prepared but being unable to find the item.
Is it possible to prepare for every potential situation?
I try to make sure I have the basics and then be resourceful with what I have. But there are too many times I rely on my preparedness instead of relying on God and His provisions. I need to trust that God’s provisions will be enough to meet the needs of the day.
What is it you need for today?
I loved the reminder that showed up for me this morning. I was searching for the word “need” in the Bible and this verse from Exodus made an appearance:
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
I know that “being still” is a challenge for me which is why it is a focus for me during this Lenten season. Have you settled on a verse or two to focus on? Have you had the principles for those verses show up in unexpected places?
Heavenly Father, help me to accept Your provisions for this day. Amen.
On the Road,