Our Advent journey begins with the pleas of God’s people for Him to come among us and, with His might, shape us into the worthy followers He would have us be. We eagerly anticipate His arrival as a newborn, while we also remember His words of promise and power as the adult Messiah.

But how can we invite the Christmas King to reign in our hearts unless we have prepared a place for Him there?

Advent is not just a time of waiting: It is a time for preparation. And all the time we spend on cooking and cleaning and baking and shopping and wrestling with travel schedules doesn’t count. In fact, our frantic prosaic preparations crowd out the spiritual preparations He would have us make.

In our crowded minds and busy homes, we must make room for the Lord. We need to clean out the emotional clutter that keeps us from focusing on the true meaning of the season. We need to push back the distractions and turmoil of daily life and focus on the space in which He stands. We need to sweep away fear, discord, and anger. When we clean up our hearts and minds, His love radiates even more powerfully, unobstructed by our selfish and fearful considerations.

When we make room for the Lord, we also give Him the space He requires to work miracles in our lives. With open hearts and minds, we can rise to His call, bend to His will, and be reshaped to His glory. As we approach the manger to honor the Child, we too can be reborn, made fresh and new by the power of His grace.

On this first Sunday of Advent, let us pledge to make room for the Lord. Let us create a place of honor for Him in our hearts and in our homes. May we rejoice in our preparations for Christmas be bathed in the light of His love.

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, You are the potter;
we are all the work of Your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
for we are all Your people.”
Isaiah 64:8-9