While singing Joy to the World during worship at church, the phrase “prepare Him room” took on a whole new meaning as I considered what it really means to prepare room in our hearts for Jesus during the Christmas season. I am not referring, however, to simply slowing down from the hustle and bustle and busyness of the Christmas season and taking time to be still and focus on the birth of Jesus – “the reason for the season” as the saying goes. I am referring, more specifically, to how we make room for Jesus in our hearts when all that seems to consume our hearts during the Christmas season is hurt and pain and heartache.
Whether it’s grieving the loss of a loved one, bearing the pain of a severed marriage or other relationship, struggling with the devastating effects of job loss, or any number of things that grieve and pain us, the great challenge is how do we allow Jesus to fill our hearts during a season that should be filled with celebration and rejoicing, but all we feel is brokenness and pain.
There is no text book answer as we contemplate this dilemma, for our pain and hurt are vastly more complex than many of the text book answers and solutions the world offers. I can only speak from my own present situation of brokenness, which has left my heart in pieces and tears my daily companion. During a season of the year that should fill my heart with joy and laughter, my heart is consumed instead with pain and weeping. This is not to say that I am completely without joy or hope; only that I am learning how to navigate this Christmas season with the grace that God offers me each new day to rise and simply allow myself to rest in His unseen arms. Every morning I awake still very conscious of the pain and hurt, yet also very conscious of God’s presence and the grace of His healing touch to sooth my aching heart and assure me that I am not alone in my pain and suffering.
During the Christmas season, this is how all of us prepare room in our hearts for Jesus regardless of our painful circumstances. That is, we do not deny that the pain and hurt are present and real, but we simply allow ourselves to grieve as often and as much as we need to. And in doing so, we allow ourselves to rest in God’s unseen arms of grace and in the bosom of His abundant love, letting Him wrap His loving and grace-filled arms around us as only our heavenly Father can.
No matter what you are going through right now, my friend, remember that your circumstances do not define your joy; Jesus defines your joy. So look to Him in the midst of your grief, to the One who is “the reason for the season,” and you will surprisingly find yourself singing with the choirs of men and angels “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room. And heaven and nature sing. . . ”
In God’s divine love,