At the time of writing this post there are ….sssh….217 days until Christmas. I dare not say it too loudly in the house because the female Obery’s will start playing carols and Christmas songs from Spotify. Christmas in this house is a big deal. I’m not sure that Dad has too much to do with it, apart from the present wrapping. If they could get away with it, then the decorations would be festooned on November 1st. Thankfully, my brother has a birthday at the very end of November and so all signs of Christmas is banned until we have suitably celebrated.
During Christmas 2018, I had to write a paper for Regents and I decided that I would look at how Christ’s birth and the gospel message was portrayed at various Christmas services across the denominations and so attended several that year. One of the services was at a Hillsong-style church that was as big on welcome as it was on celebrating. A dark auditorium was lit only by stage lights and as the introductory video presentation cranked to full volume, a choir started to sing ‘Let every heart, prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.’ The congregation joined in enthusiastically and the volume rose. A little later in the service, the lead Pastor took to the stage to give the message. It was simply this ‘Hearts prepare Him room’.
He looked at the passage in Luke 2 v 1-7 ‘She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.’ The people in that small town did not know who had been born that night and so did not make room to welcome Him. The shepherds on the hillside were the first to hear the news that a King had been born. V 15-18 says that ‘they left, running’ (The Message) to see what God had revealed to them. They prepared their hearts, made room for Him and ran to see the new-born King. They weren’t the first to make room however. Mary, upon being told by Gabriel that she was to give birth to God’s son simply said; ‘Let it be with me just as you said.’ Mary pondered the message from Gabriel in her heart and made ‘room’ for Christ.
In this season, as we begin to emerge from many weeks in lockdown, may our hearts prepare Him room. In other words, let us ensure that we don’t fill our lives with the same busyness that overcrowded us before. We need to be intentional in our act of making room for Him. Let’s make sure that there is still room in our hearts to hear that still small voice and not allow it to be drowned out. “Joy to the World the Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King. Let every heart, prepare Him room.”