Preparing for the holidays is primarily a preparing of the heart.

Because what comes down is love and the way to receive love isn’t to wrap anything up — but to unwrap your heart.

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This will take time.

This will take waiting.

I must make space for these.

Why don’t I make space just for the heart unwrapping?

Advent — this is the season of preparing that prepares us for any season of life — because we are preparing our lives for Christ to enter in — which prepares for us the life without end.

Is that the ultimate purpose of this life — the preparing for the next life?

Is this why Christmas, Advent, unlike any other time of year, glimmers with a glimpse of heaven — because it’s the time of year we’re fulfilling our purpose, preparing for Christ and His coming again? The Christmas tree’s been lit for weeks, a beacon, a preparing, an anticipation. Why is it easier to make Christmas cookies than to make our hearts ready for Christ?

Is getting ready for Christmas as simple and difficult as simply sitting stilled before the cradle of Christ?

And yet.

Love came down and “He came to his own people, and his own people did not receive him.”

(John 1:11)

Love came down – and his own people did not recognize Him.

Love came down — and His own people did not want what He offered.

The Messiah came down and He wasn’t received as the Messiah — and Love comes down down and who receives all the moments as His love?

How in the world am I receiving Christ this Advent?

During Advent, the season of waiting for the coming, the Christ-people, they meet whatever comes with this brazen belief that it is Love that Comes Down.

Love comes down to His own people — and His own people are the ones who do receive the unexpected and unlikely as His love.

The infant as infinite God.

The Babe as bondage-breaker.

The stump as new shoot, the ugly as beautiful, the weak as strong.

Our loving God always comes to us wrapped in the unlikely.

We may not know the outcome but we tenaciously believe that in Him we overcomebecause Love comes down.

Is that how we get ready for Christmas? By readying the heart to receive the gift of every moment — no matter what the moment unexpectedly holds — as a gift of His love?

We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ — when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.

At the end of the day, the carols hardly play, and yet I hear them.

I light the candles at the hearth.

And I can feel how it comes.

The warmth and the flame and this slow unwrapping of everything bound…

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  1. 1

    My husband has been repeating it to me, “You need to learn to simply receive from Him, Katie.” And yes – he is so right……

    because we didn’t go up – He came down.

    While my doubt and skeptisism can be like plagues – perhaps they are a gift. Because, for me, even faith has to come from the hand of Jesus. I have to receive even that, from Him.

    Unwrapping myself to receive and be filled – I like the thought of that.

    Thank you, Ann :)

    Blessings,
    Kate :)

  2. 2

    You are so right. I am trying to practice unwrapping Jesus this month and sometimes I get it right and sometimes my attitude can stink.

  3. 3

    Is that how we get ready for Christmas? By readying the heart to receive the gift of every moment — no matter what the moment unexpectedly holds — as a gift of His love?
    thank you Ann…counting has helped me receive all His gifts…and has helped me unwrap myself to let these gift come and transform…to empty…to fill…
    Blessings to you dear Ann…

  4. 4
    Beth Williams says:

    I think living in this fast-paced “commercialized” society has dulled our senses as to what really matters about Christmas and how to prepare!

    Thank you for the insightful words…Unwrapping our hearts to receive the most costly, precious gift ever given to any human, non-deserving at that.

    We will try to slow down & just enjoy Christmas–Jesus birth!

  5. 5

    The Love indeed came down – and most importantly, once there, remains in our hearts. I love the last line …. unwrapping of everything bound. Beautiful thought….

  6. 6

    your words always lift my soul and unite us all in our Heavenly Father, His Gift to me is all i will ever need–in this world and the next. All is truly Grace!!!!

  7. 7

    “Our loving God always comes to us wrapped in the unlikely.” For me, it’s going to be Christmas morning in jammies, with yummies… at a mental health hospital where my daughter lives now. Longing to see how Jesus will unwrap LIFE in her this year… Longing for Him to unwrap tenderness in me instead of a heart numb in a long journey….

    • 8
      Debbie Billingsley says:

      I am Praying for you Laurie that you will see God bring LIFE to your daughter. Remember to be looking for the unlikely… God always surprises!

  8. 9
    Denise Douglas says:

    I love the theme: Love came down. The coffee mug is my favorite with the heart swirl in the bottom :)

    Denise

  9. 10

    Thank you Ann!!! Merry Christmas! barb Wall

  10. 11
    karly d. says:

    jesus is the jewel of christmas. his love is what burns inside. i want my unwrapped heart to be a perfect setting for him, to shine and to burn this season and always.

  11. 12
    Debbie Billingsley says:

    As I sat in my house the other day, exhausted and drained I was thinking “Wow! Sure glad my son put up the window garlands for Christmas it be all the Christmas we have r’ound here!” But then I read this and see that you are So right . I reevaluated. Going to see my mom at the Memory care facility(she has Vasular Dementia) I sat for an hour with several of the ladies there and we sang Christmas songs…for an hour. It made them So happy! ( Christ’s LOVE coming down to those who are forgotten?) As I continue to do things for my adult children to help them out with the everyday things and situations of life as it comes along… Pehaps that is also Christ’s love coming down… I for get that in my lettle messy world God is always there blessing mebut I am not always aware of it!
    Thanks! This post made my day!

    • 13

      Debbie,
      Thank you for your post. My dad has the beginning stages of Vascular Dementia and it makes this Christmas that more special to spend time with him. He was a pastor for 40 years and has cared for so many of God’s children. I know it’s the small things that make him happy now. God is always here blessing us if we will just look for Him.

  12. 14
    Dr Prabhu G J Dorairaj says:

    Oh it is wonderful to read the article and comments too. God is still on the throne and He will remember His own. We have to praise God that people are getting sensitized with the real meaning and truth of Christmas – LOVE – God’s Love, beyond human comprehension, yet so true and real. Let’s spread this greatest Love to humanity through our living and sharing – leaving all the selfish attitudes which leads to sin.

  13. 15
    Vijay R.John says:

    Thanks for the theme-Love Came Down. Yes,it is because of this unconditional love that we are able to experience the Joy and Peace of Christmas.May this Love of God wrapped in Christ fill our hearts to reach out to the untold millions who are in darkness.

  14. 16
    Co Lawalata says:

    Thank you An for remembering what Advent is, christmas Jesus ! Jesus !!
    Yes love came down, and I just lift up my hands toward Him
    because love came down

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