Make Room

The season of advent is upon us! I have grown to really love advent. As a kid, it wasn’t really anything more to me than a little calendar filled with chocolates for every day leading up to Christmas in December. These days, having grown and learned so much from the Lord and from my local church, advent has become something really special. Childhood anticipation for Christmas morning treasures under the tree have evolved into a beautiful combination of remembrance and waiting for the coming of the greatest Gift of all. I’ve especially loved learning how our worship can intentionally illustrate this longing in the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, with songs and readings that culminate in a glorious receiving of our new born King Jesus.

This year in particular, God keeps bringing me back to the same theme over and over as we enter this Advent season: “Make Room” and “Abide.” I’ll share more about the “abide” part in a later post, but for this week, I want to settle in on this call to “make room.” We’ve all heard the timeless carol, Joy to the World… “let every heart prepare him room…” This year, that phrase stands out to me in a different way.

Lately God has been doing a lot of work in my heart with this theme of restoration. I heard a podcast several weeks ago that really kicked this off for me…you can listen to it here. What struck me most was this idea that God is preparing a home within my heart, a home in which he intends to dwell. He’s tearing down walls, restoring broken places, and building up something even deeper and more extravagant that what was there before. He’s in the business of restoring lives and hearts because, as C.S. Lewis says, He intends to live there.

I feel the joys and the pains of these heart-renovations when I think about the journey He has brought me on even in just the last year. He sees the joys and the victories, the rooms of my heart-home that I can’t wait to show off to people and invite them into. He also sees the hurts and the brokenness, the rooms I’ve sealed off, content to remain locked for fear of revealing the ugliness that’s inside…I’ve felt the painful relief as He pries open doors, entering in, dusting off shelves, purging cluttered closets, and bringing new life to those dark, hidden spaces, as painful and slow as the process may be.

With Christmas approaching and this theme on my mind, I find myself wondering…have I prepared room in my heart-home for the Lord to dwell? And I don’t just mean a guest room…some small, temporary space for Him to stay for a time. I mean, have I prepared my heart for the Living God to dwell in EVERY room of my heart? See, He’s not just a tenant…He is THE tenant…but He’s also the designer, the builder, the owner and the landlord of my heart. A heart in which He intends to dwell.

This is the truth about your heart, too.

Often times I get fooled into thinking that I’m the landlord, illegally subletting rooms in my heart-home to other tenants who’s names were never meant to be on the lease…tenants like Self-Glory, Control, even Comfort. Turns out, I’m so bad at managing the property that other folks move in without me even noticing…unwelcome roommates like Anxiety, Doubt, and Shame, to name a few.

Am I prepared to evict everyone and make room for the One for whom my heart was made?

As you move through the next few weeks, I’d encourage you to take time every week to pause, in the midst of the planning and the parties and the presents, and remember what’s really coming. A King is coming:

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Luke 1:32-33

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”
Isaiah 9:6-7

When you hear the words of that song this Christmas season, ask yourself the same thing. I am prepared to make room for the King, to invite Him in, and to submit to whatever renovations He needs to make until He is content with my heart as His permanent home? And then sing them out as a prayer for this season:

Joy to the world!
The Lord is Come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing.

Make room, and receive your King.

For God’s glory,

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