Joy to the world, the Lord has come
Let earth receive her king
Let every heart prepare him room
We sang this hymn this morning at church, these beautiful words that I have been basing my devotions on this advent. And once more I was struck by the fact that we need to prepare room in our hearts.
For the lyricist knew a truth we often shut our eyes to; that we will fill our hearts with all sorts of things, and these things have to be cleared out to prepare room for Jesus.
The story of Herod* in the Christmas tale is one that is often glossed over. It is seen as too macabre for the nativity, too gruesome for us to handle. Yet this story illustrates a person who decides not to make room for this new king.
For Herod unlike Mary and Joseph, does not make room in his plans for Jesus. In fact he actively plots against this child.
Herod sees the the birth of this child as a threat to his power and authority, and uses that power to sanction a terrible atrocity.
Herod does not see his pride as something that might need to make room for this child, but holds it and wields it as a weapon against others.
For to make room in our hearts we have to give up something we have been holding on to, whether that is comfort, pride, dignity, tradition, our plans, or our attention. Or anything else that takes up too much space in our heart.
In contrast to Herod is Mary, who lost her dignity, her social standing, and almost lost her relationship with Joseph. But unlike Herod, in making room for Jesus in her body, and in her heart Mary found a joy that overflows in this beautiful song of praise*.
My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God!Luke 1:46-47 (TPT)
So my prayer today is that you will show me where I need to prepare room for you Jesus. Show me where I am allowing other things to have precedence and give me the strength to let them go. And may the joy that only you can bring fill my heart this Christmas.
*Luke 1:46 – 56