Do you clean your house for Christmas?

I usually do a whole house cleaning in early November.  Generally I will have already done some cleaning in early fall, but in November I whip through the whole house, dusting the walls and ceilings, washing the windows, making my house sparkle in anticipation of Christmas.  One thing I always did in my old house was to put candles in my windows… and my windows had to be perfectly shined for the lights of Christmas.

 

Ruins of a stone house and thoughts on cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

This week I had a little bit of an “ah ha” moment.

You know that I’m all about observing Advent… doing Advent readings, lighting the Advent candles, and attempting to keep my focus on the Reason for the season.

All that is good.  But, there’s something more.

Maybe you already do it.  But, I’ve realized that I haven’t really done this…

Prepare for the Lord’s arrival.

I sort of do it in my home with all the cleaning and decorating.

Not so much in my heart.

Usually I spend my time in doing Christmas activities.

Sure there’s the observance of Advent that I mentioned earlier.

But as much as I clean the house and prepare it for Christmas, I don’t do much to clean my heart and prepare it for Christmas?

Do you?

 

Ruins of a house at Linn Run and thoughts on cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

In the times before Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah had this to say….

“Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road straight and smooth,
    a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys,
    level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
    clear out the rocks.
Then God’s bright glory will shine
    and everyone will see it.
    Yes. Just as God has said.”

Isaiah 40:3-5 MSG

 

When Jesus left the earth, he told us that he would come back for us…

I think Isaiah’s call to action was two-fold.

It was meant for the people at the time before Christ to prepare for his initial arrival, which we now know to be as a humble baby.

I believe it was also an admonition to us, post-Christ’s birth, to prepare for his second arrival, as King of kings and Lord of lords.

 

Ruins of a stone house and fireplace and thoughts about cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

Isaiah begins by telling us to…

“Prepare for God’s arrival!

 

Next he tells us what to do.

The new New Living Translation reads like this…

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!

 

Have you ever thought about your life or heart as being a wilderness?  

Or your life being a wasteland for God?

It’s not a very pleasant thought.  It makes me uncomfortable, too.

 

Ruins of a fireplace and house and thoughts about cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

During this season of Advent, part of our anticipating Christmas and Christ’s arrival should be a major clear out of the wilderness and wasteland of our hearts.

Just like we go around our houses when we do a seasonal cleaning and collect the stuff that’s been sitting around, the stuff that we’ve gotten used to seeing in various places in the house, and the stuff that really doesn’t belong… we need to do the same in our hearts during Advent.

We need to make “the road straight and smooth… fit for our God.”

We need to “fill in the valleys and level off the hills.”

We need to “smooth out the ruts and clear out the rocks.”

 

Graphic image with the verse, Search me O God, from Psalm 139.

 

Whenever we clean the house we get out our house-cleaning tools.

We have a major cleaning tool that we need to use first and foremost for cleaning our heart homes.

It’s prayer.

Our first step in preparing to clean “house” should be to pray.

Psalm 139: 23-24 would be a great prayer to pray:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

By praying that prayer and being willing to let God show us the valleys, hills, ruts, and rocks in our life, our heart homes should start to sparkle like our wood and brick homes.

Actually, the prophet told us what will be the result of our efforts.

Then God’s bright glory will shine
    and everyone will see it.

from Isaiah 40:5

Hmmm….

 

Image of the setting sun on stream and and thoughts about cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

Shine like bright lights!

One day all Jesus’ followers will be living with him in the mansions he’s prepared for us… his heavenly kingdom.

In the meantime, we can make his kingdom come on earth by observing Advent, anticipating his coming, preparing for his coming in our hearts, and shining his light into a dark world.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.
Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights
in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Philippians 2:13-15 NLT

 

Somewhere in my reading this past week I read one sentence that spoke to observing Advent similarly to Lent.  I made a brief mental note, and went on with my daily tasks and activities.  Interestingly enough, it came back to me at different times through the week.  As I was “listening” to hear what I needed to write about for Joy Day, I had a strong sense that the Holy Spirit was nudging me to explore this with you.  Often, this process is mostly for me.  But, if it was for you, too, that’s a God thing. Let me know.

Cleaning “house” for Christmas is more than just a wood and brick activity.  It’s also a matter of the heart. 

 

Stream at sunset and and thoughts about cleaning "house" for Christmas.

 

 

It’s Joy Day!

The day we set aside a portion of time to look back over the past week and count our blessings and give thanks.   It’s in this counting and thanking that our hearts are filled with joy.

Won’t you join me in counting just ‘seven’?

I’ll start!

Thank you God…

  1. for restoring my computer.
  2. for a beautiful day to walk and the discovery of rose hips for picking.
  3. for my dear sweet blogging friends who bless me so much.
  4. that despite how things look to me… you have a plan and will work all things together for my good and your glory.
  5. for Christmas tree decorating with my wonderful, Christmas-loving friend.
  6. for a day away and fun seeing an old black and white movie at the theater.
  7. for knowing you love me beyond my wildest imagination.

Now it’s your turn!

In the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts” below, list your ‘seven.’ I dare you!

Want even more joy?  Take the Joy Dare here.

 

Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.

Joyfully!
Diane

P.S.  Thank you so much for praying for my laptop.  My friend’s son went the extra mile.  After 9.5 hours it was restored.  Evidently there was a bad update which demolished my ability to connect to the internet… or a virus.  Regardless he was able to fix it.  Again, thanks for your prayers.

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Comments

  1. Lots of folks do Advent calendars. Instead, I do. Lenten calendar. In 2015, I will be doing tags, which have date on one side and a name of Jesus on the back side.

  2. Thank you God 1.Even tho the week has been full of challenges I chose to believe You were with me.2.James getting the tree together before he went into the hospital.3.Strength that came even when I felt none.4.James pulling through another emergency health scare.5.Your reminder as I was alone that I’m not alone CAUSE You are there.6.Even as I’m thanking You I can feel some depression lift.7.This season of remembering Your birth.

    • My dear sweet friend… I am so glad that you are sensing God’s love and provision as you walked these challenging days this week. Thanks for taking time to share your “seven.” Isn’t God good to lift your spirits as you count your blessings? Big {{hugs}}
      Praying your new week is filled with God’s JOY, peace, and presence.

  3. Great post about preparing and keeping right our hearts before God just like we prepare our homes for Christmas. Thank you for always inspiring us to walk more closely with Jesus Diane.
    Joy Day Thanksgiving:
    1. After 3 months looking we may have found a home church in our new community.
    2. New friends who invited us to their home for lunch after church.
    3. Prayer that God would bring into my life a friend here that I would have some common interests with (in addition to being a Christian). Was answered with the week!
    4. All of the amazingly welcoming neighbors we are getting to know on our cul-de-sac.
    5. A great time with my sis & bro-in-law who came all the way out from SoCal to spend our first Thanksgiving in our new home with us.
    6. The new thing God is doing between hubby and myself in this new place, as we find ourselves more reliant upon each other with the absence of old friends.
    7. The way God is speaking to me as I rely more upon Him each day.
    Thank you Diane! Love & hugs,
    Patti

    • Oh Patti… I am delighted to hear how God is answering your prayers and bringing you into relationships with so many people in your short time in your new home. Yay God! for directing you to a new church home, and blessing you with a kindred spirit.
      Big HUGs!! May your new week overflow with HIS peace and JOY!
      And thank you so much for your kind words… 😉

  4. 1- still so thankful we were able to go to Kansas and have a week and Thanksgiving with our daughters and their families
    2–that we got to see 2 grandsons soccer games
    3–that Zach who was injured in one game is ok
    4–that the 2 grand babies who live near us stayed with us from 10-6 yesterday while mom and dad got ready for Wells’ 2nd birthday party today
    5–for a very fun birthday party for Wells today
    6–thankful my mom with dementia went with us to the party today!
    7–so thankful that Wells 2 on Dec. 15 and Phoebe 1 April 7 live 1.7 miles from us!

    • Glenda… you definitely live in God’s blessing and favor. I love your joyful heart and how you are so grateful for your family and all the blessings that come your way. Still praying for Wells and Phoebe’s mom and dad. 😉
      May your new week be overflow with God’s goodness and JOY!!

  5. Lucy Beliveau says:

    Thank you Lord for…ful
    1. Listening to me as I pray and share my inner thoughts with you.
    2. Letting me share my life with a wonderful man who cares for me Relentlessly!
    3. Always letting me have such lovely, enjoyable days.
    4. Allowing me to be free from pain because of the epidural I had.
    5. Letting me spend time with my children and grandchildren!
    6. Helping my dear Mother as she journeys through horrible Alzheimer’s.
    7. Giving me such glorious memories of my precious Father. I loved him and still do…too much.

    • Lucy… I rejoice with you at God’s hand of goodness blessing you so richly these days.
      May you continue to sense his presence daily and be filled with JOY!
      [[hugs]]

  6. Andrea ( aka rokinrev) says:

    We are totally cleaning and purging to the bare walls as we have a bedbug infestation and are oreparing for the first of three treatments over six weeks that prohibits Christmas decorations going up this year. And few or no gifts as all our money goes for this situation. But God is good: we have an aoartment and a full fridge when others aren’t as blessed

    • Oh Andrea… I feel just awful for you. That would be unimaginable to deal with. I’m sure Christmas is going to feel much different this year. Big {{{hugs}}}

  7. Wonderful post, Diane! I need a lot of “house cleaning” this year; thank you for the encouragement.

    Thanks for joining Grace at Home. I’m featuring you this week!

  8. I’m a first time visitor and this is absolutely what I needed to hear today! Thank you for sharing your words with us…

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