I always love singing the songs that fill the radio stations this time of year – the ones about the birth of the promised Messiah who would live among people and would eventually die, but be raised again to save from a life of spiritual poverty those who receive Him. But this particular Christmas season there’s something special about it. For the first time in years, we have a choir preparing for upcoming Christmas services at our church. Practicing with others the past few weeks has reminded me of the importance of possessing a genuine and humble heart as a leader/facilitator of worship through song. I have heard it said that Christians don’t tell lies, they just sing them. As we have come together to practice the last couple of weeks, my heart has been stirred at the depth and truth of the message of the songs …
prepare Him room, prepare Him room, let the King of Glory enter in.
I don’t want to sing a lie this Christmas. But I also know that I wake up every day and I’m faced with a choice: Will I grab seasonal pleasure because of cheer and peppermint mochas and lights, or will I hold tight to sincere passion because of a deeper joy and overflowing rivers of living water pouring from the Light of the world into my soul?
Oh, our hearts as busy as Bethlehem, hear Him knock; don’t say there’s no room in the inn. Through the cradle, cross, and grave, see the love of God displayed!
As I scroll through the social media chatter, I could be swept up in the latest thoughts about frivolous things like elves and proper gift giving or table setting to the more serious matters of the homeless or the selfish. I can nod my head and agree to certain approaches to the season, but what it comes down to is personally answering the question, what can and will I give as I prepare Him room?
There was no little drummer boy kneeling at the manger (that I know of), but in some ways we are all there … with nothing to bring Him but ourselves. When we read or recite the accounts of Matthew and Luke, our hearts enter Bethlehem and we ponder the prophecies and the mysteries surrounding our Savior’s birth. It was such an uneventful entrance into our world.
So in the quiet moments at home alone, will I fret over garland and mistletoe, or will I open my bible and prayer notebook and offer Him room to come in? As I interact with the crowds, will I smile a sincere smile from the heart, or will I choose frustration and impatience at long lines and careless drivers? At church and small groups, will I pretend that I care about what matter most, or will I actually pray for the courage to surrender all for the sake of the gospel going to the nations?
There is one simple Christmas reality. A couple thousand years ago there was a humble stable that housed a young and pondering mother, her courageous and obedient husband, and a newborn baby who was God in flesh. The event changed everything – past, present and future. Whether we have grand gifts of gold and silver and expensive fragrances, or whether it’s a small present of two turtle doves, we bow down before God with open hands and hearts and ask Him to take who we are and what we have and use it to give the world a glimpse of His glory. In the midst of the magical and delightful, we pray for His presence (He is God with us) and peace (He is the Prince of Peace) and power (He is King of Kings) to be the most obvious.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus. There’s room in my heart for Thee.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim worship night and day,
a breastful of milk and a mangerful of hay.
Enough for Him, whom angels fall down before,
the ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangel may have gathered there.
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air,
but only His mother in her maiden bliss,
worshipped the Beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him,
I’ll give Him my heart.