Joyful music leads us onward
In the triumph song of life!
Rejoice, rejoice our God is here with us
Emmanuel our God is still with us.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. — Luke 2:7
In Ireland we have a lot of old Celtic rituals that have made their way into our Christmas traditions. And as unusual as it might sound, one of them is to do a deep clean of your entire household leading up to Christmas— I know, fun right? Households, especially in rural Ireland would clean their barns, scrub the floors, do the laundry, and whitewash the walls of their homes. Is it really any wonder this Christmas tradition is more or less extinct? But the idea was to purify the home in order to make way for the baby Jesus. This and the placing of candles in the window were meant to signify that there was room and a place for the newborn King.
I think sometimes we come into the Christmas season with the same mindset— how to do I get my heart in order for Jesus this year? So we try to clean up our lives to make room. Maybe you downloaded this Christmas devotional for that very purpose. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to prepare our hearts for Jesus, I think it’s a mistake to think he won’t visit unless we do.
There were no clean homes for Jesus when he was born, no candles lit in the windows of cosy cottages, the people who were meant to expect him didn’t know who he was. He was born into a world that was unprepared for him, but he came anyway, compelled by the deepest love, in the form of a baby.
We find that freeing. This year, like most years, has had its highs and lows, it’s joys and sorrows, its proud moments and ones of deepest shame. We’re not in order, our lives aren’t in order, our hearts need a Saviour. And Jesus knows that. This year we want to invite Jesus into our homes knowing he will restore order to our hearts and lives. The message of the manger isn’t that we need to make sure everything is right before Jesus comes, it’s that he makes all things right WHEN he comes.
So as you are you family prepare for Christmas, rest in the knowledge that there is grace to come before the manger just as you are. Join us as we bring our cares and before Jesus, and let’s cast off any lingering shadows in our hearts! Because of Jesus we can be joyful and triumphant!