The Importance of Preparation

Christmas, The Gospel, Malachi 3:1As I write this it is a little bit less than two weeks until Christmas.  Even if I were not aware of the calendar date I would surely know that something important is about to happen because of the amount of preparation that is happening all around me.  All the shops and stores, both big and small, are decorated for the season and seem to be announcing new sales daily in an attempt to get customers in to the store or shopping online.

Suddenly there are lights appearing on my neighbors houses that weren’t there before and even in my own house a small army of snowmen (snow-people?) have taken up positions in most every room of the house dressed in their winter finery and holiday garb.  And on my list of things to do today are a Christmas luncheon with some extended family members and an afternoon Christmas shopping expedition with my wife.

Looking at all of the evidence around me I can conclude that Christmas seems to be something that we spend a great deal of time and effort preparing for and that we place a very high degree of importance on.  As a nation and as a culture we really like Christmas and that is not a bad thing so long as we take great care to remember what Christmas is all about.

What would happen, I wonder, if we were to take that same attitude and a similar amount of effort in preparing ourselves for worship and communion with the Lord and in telling other people that Jesus loves them?  Because as important as Christmas is, it isn’t more important than our personal relationship with the Lord and it isn’t more important than the work of preparing hearts and lives to receive the gospel message.

Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,”
Says the Lord of hosts.  Malachi 3:1 (NKJV)

As Christians we should know that Jesus is coming back one day and that day could be soon.  Malachi 3:1 begins by talking about the messenger and his work of preparation but quickly shifts to talking about how the Lord will come “suddenly”.  God’s word also says that “No man knows the day or the hour” of His coming and so there is no more important work for us than that of preparing ourselves and those around us for the coming of the Lord.  We are the messengers.  To us is given the responsibility of telling the world that Jesus saves and that He is coming back soon.

Personally, I want to make sure that I am spending time with the Lord every day and offering up the sacrifice of my praise and the worship that is due to Him.  I want to make sure that I am drawing strength from His presence and His word and that I am using that strength and that power to prepare the hearts of those around me for the coming of the Lord.  Even as I and my family are preparing for Christmas and will enjoy it immensely it is not the most important preparation that I will do today or this week or for the remainder of this year.

I pray that God would bless you and your family this Christmas season and that your hearts are prepared to receive Him and His love for you.