Christmas Tree Hunting
In the early days of Advent, we drive out to the Beck family farm to cut down a Christmas tree. Our only rule is it must be shorter than “Mom” so it will fit in our house. This rule is always disappointing, especially as you walk around towering and beautiful trees. Instead of those giants, we pick a tree that only slightly dwarfs Charlie Brown’s. And yet, once we bring the tree into our house, we realize it’s too big. There isn’t room. We have to move furniture, change our seating arrangements, and move lamps out of the living room. It inconveniences everything. It disrupts our feng shui.
Our children clamor to decorate it as fast as possible, placing all the ornaments on the bottom half of our tree. The whole, lovely experience involves getting muddy, dirtying our car, moving furniture, pulling boxes out of the basement, and attempts at teaching a five-year-old the aesthetic of a balanced Christmas tree.
This is one of my favorite moments. It’s the moment we prepare room in our house for the Christmas season. It’s the moment we make our house ready for the ongoing celebration that is full of expectation of God’s arrival. This physical discipline and family moment is an outward expression of what takes place within us.
You are a Disciple and Worshipper of God
Advent is a fresh invitation from God to prepare room in our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies to worship Him. This is the call to worship we hear as we sing in Joy to the World: “Let every heart, prepare him room.” This is not merely a missional call toward the world but it is a call to each other and ourselves in community.
Many leaders and missional communities forget we are welcomed into a life of enjoying God, knowing His love, and experiencing His presence in our lives. We forget that we are God’s mission and on God’s mission. You and your community were created to live the gospel in unity with God. To taste the grace of God through repentance and faith. To worship God through confession. To know the depth of God’s love by listening to God. Christopher Friedrich Blumhardt notes the discipline we undertake of preparing room and searching for God’s work today…even in the ordinary.
“One does not always have to wait for something out of the ordinary. The all-important thing is to keep your eyes on what comes from God and to make way for it to come into being here on the earth. If you always try to be heavenly and spiritually minded, you won’t understand the everyday work God has for you to do. But if you embrace what is to come from God, if you live for Christ’s coming in practical life, you will learn that divine things can be experienced here and now.”
This requires an intentional focus, just like the welcoming of a Christmas tree into your living room. How will you prepare room in your heart? How will you look for God’s presence? How will you turn your ear to hearing His voice?