Christmas Eve candle-lighting
An Advent Prayer

Lord, my life is in disarray,
I’ve lost my joy, I’ve lost my way
Lord, I know how to set things right.
Why do I balk and hedge and fight?

Christ of Light dispel the darkness
Prince of Peace, come and reign.

I’m full of pressure, strain and stress
The “should do better” I confess
Weighs heavy on my weary soul
Just surviving is my goal.

Christ of Light dispel the darkness
Prince of Peace, come and reign.

I am Your child, You created me
Yet oft my worth I cannot see
Lord You know my inmost being
Help me heal, transform my thinking

Christ of Light dispel the darkness
Prince of Peace, come and reign.

Come and rest my precious child
Just let Me hold you, and love you, he smiled.
I don’t want your frenzied “doing”
It  keeps you running from my wooing.
Stop. Be still. My Light you’ll see
Hope and joy, reflecting Me.

Christ of Light you’ve dispelled the darkness
Prince of Peace, come reign in me.

Musings from Jenell

Preparing the Way for the Lord

How do you prepare for Christmas? Have you started yet? What do you do? Do you send cards to everyone you know? Do you bake up a storm and put it in the freezer for hoards of company? Do you make gifts? Sew nighties for the kids, make a Teddy bear, knit some scarves and mitts? Do you clean house and decorate? Put up the lights outside and flood a skating rink? Do you do an advent calendar with your kids and memorize verses and songs for the Christmas concert? Do you fall into bed exhausted each night and wonder how youíll get everything done?

In Luke chapter 3 it says, ďAs it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ĎA voice of one calling in the wilderness, ďPrepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.Ē

During this season of Advent we remember and celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus. Isaiah prophesied that John the Baptist would be that voice calling out from the desert to the people to repent, and be baptized and cleansed for the imminent coming of Christ and His kingdom. Heís giving the message of expecting the Messiahís coming and being prepared for it. So there is the expectancy and awe as well as the preparation during the four weeks before Christmas that we call Advent.

Thereís a lot of anticipation around the Christmas season but often that attitude of awe and expectancy of the Lordís coming, in reality becomes a frantic attempt to fulfill expectations. Expectations that others may have of us, the cultural hoopla of Christmas, our own self-imposed ideas of a perfect Christmas. Maybe itís the need to buy gifts (remember so and so gave us those chocolates last year, now weíre obligated to give them something). Or Aunt Agnes sent us a Christmas card, weíll just have to add another one to our list making 251 on the list now. Or the Jonesís had us over during the Christmas season last year and they went all out. I canít just put out a few cookies and some juice! And pretty soon the hope of being still and waiting with awe and anticipation of the coming of the Saviour is lost. Lost due to false guilt and self-imposed ďmust-doísĒ that derail us and keep us from really knowing and experiencing the Prince of Peace in our lives.

Could we choose to stay home one evening and just listen to Christmas music and play games together or talk about what God has been doing in our lives? The early Christian fathers called Simplicity one of the Disciplines, like prayer and fasting. Itís a Discipline because we must choose it over the desire for more and more and more, and then we must practise it, in order to understand the joy that comes with the simple acting of waiting on the Lord and allowing Him in. Letís give ourselves grace to choose Simplicity so that the Prince of Peace might come and be a reality for us.

The other part of Advent is preparation. We just talked about all the ways that we prepare. But when the prophet Isaiah talks about preparing the way for the Messiah heís talking about something huge. Heís not just talking about leveling a few rocks from our path or pulling a few weeds. He says, ďEvery valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.Ē When our 2Ĺ year old grandson, Caleb, came to stay with us, he watched the big tractors and scrapers and dump truck forming our circle drive in front of the house. It took 2 full days to form it perfectly, even with that big machinery. It had to be perfectly level and the grade of the gravel had to be built up so that the water would run off the road and away from the house. Cabie was so enthralled that he had his own chair to stand on and look out the window as they worked. He never got tired of watching and his mom had to feed him his supper at the window. I donít think he even knew he had had supper.

Moving mountains and valleys is so much more than what we were doing in our little circle drive at the house. God is calling us to prepare in a big way. Heís asking us about the rubble, the rocks, the crooked ways, the mountains and valleys of our hearts and how those are barriers to the coming of Christ to us. Maybe those barriers are our busyness, or our frustration, our false guilt, and our willingness to let our culture dictate to us until weíre overwhelmed and exhausted. Maybe itís our bitterness and deep-seated anger or grudges held. Maybe itís our apathy. I donít know what it might be for you, but I know that Christ is the most precious and perfect gift given by His Father to the world and He asks us to prepare the way so that there will be room for Him to enter into the inner parts of our minds, our bodies and our souls. How can we prepare the way for the Lord to enter in in all His glory? Heís calling us to a simple time of expectancy and awe, so that we can prepare the way for the greatest gift ever given.

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