My daughter is now 33 weeks pregnant, and we are in full swing of final preparations for a birth day! Our granddaughter is coming, whether we are ready or not, in a short time. Our job is to get everything ready for her arrival, such as: decide which room will be the nursery and then set it up with appropriate furniture; buy the itty bitty clothes needed for a newborn, buy diapers and bottles and toys, etc. There are the plethora of doctor appointments necessary to ensure the health of the mother-to-be and baby Riley, as she is in the 7th percentile size wise, and her mother is having high blood pressure. There’s planning and having a baby shower so that friends and family can participate in celebrating this new life by giving needed items. Our calendar is filled with much to do as open eager hearts are readying for the coming of Riley Belle into our lives!
Then there is the unknown part of exactly when the baby will arrive. The assumed day of January 5th is known, but the actual day is definitely unknown to us, for various reasons. Sure, there are good scientific guesses based on multiple variables, but unless it is a scheduled c-section or an inducement, the baby will come when she is ready, and not before. Her birth day is not set in stone…yet.
As I was mentally reviewing my list of to-do’s, it hit me that this is the beginning of the Christmas season where we celebrate the birth of a baby boy named Jesus, the Son of our God. There is so much to do before that big day! Pick out gifts for friends and family and wrap them, write a Christmas letter and send cards, plan meals, bake cookies, and decorate the house and hang up lights.
But wait, how does doing any of those things prepare our hearts room for the ‘why’ we celebrate this day in the first place? They don’t. These actions help us get into the Christmas spirit, but unless we are centering our hearts on Jesus being the reason for the season, then it is in vain. We have not prepared for the birth of Jesus, nor have we made room for Him.
“…the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them.”
Growing up, every Sunday evening for four weeks before Christmas Day we read a portion of the story of Jesus’ birth and lit an advent candle. But even before we did this, we each at some point in the day would take a few minutes alone and get our hearts right before God by confessing sins, then thanking God for his mercy, grace and forgiveness in our individual lives. This act of preparation was meaningful then, but even more so now as I know what Jesus went through and did to save me! To celebrate Christmas, the coming of Jesus, as a child of God means so much more to me the deeper my relationship with Him grows.
There is yet another comparison: anticipation for when Jesus will come, again…
“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “’Tell us,’” they said, “’when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming…?’”
“Jesus answered: “’Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars…but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains…
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Matthew 24:3-6, 36, 42
You see, we do not know exactly when Jesus will come again just as we don’t know exactly when a baby is going to be born. Sure, there are signs that indicate that time is near, like birthing pains, but those can last a while! Meanwhile, our job as believers in Jesus is to prepare our own hearts by living as the Lord has instructed, by sharing the good news of Jesus with others, by praying earnestly about all things, and by serving Him as He served us selflessly.
To be successful in your preparations, two things are necessary: time, and the desire. There is no guarantee on how much time you will have to get ready. Regardless of whether it is 2 months or 200 years, you absolutely must have the desire to do so. Just as you take the time and energy to plan for Christmas, or for the birth of a child, if your heart isn’t in it, you won’t give it your all, if at all. The same is to be said for readying for Jesus’ return.
Oh, yes, it WILL happen, He WILL come again! But only God knows when…Are you ready?
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”
1 John 2:28
***For further reading on preparing for Jesus’ return:
Matthew 25:1-13 The parable of the 10 virgins
Matthew 25:14-30 The parable of the talents
Matthew 25:31-46 The final judgment
My finale –
Come when you are ready, grandbaby Riley! You are welcome in my home and in my heart!
COME SOON LORD JESUS! My home is your home and thank you for living in my heart!!
Food for thought: How can you prepare for the historical birth of Jesus, or for his 2nd coming? How can you make more room for Him in your heart and in your everyday life?
Fun facts: The most popular birth date in history is the Christmas Day, the birth of Jesus Christ. The birth date for most US babies born is October 5th, which is nearly 9 months after New Years Eve.
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Baby Riley’s Nursery