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Pastor’s Note


“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”: The Emotions of Christmas

Let me confess up front that our family committed this year what I know many of you consider a grievous sin (or breach of all reasonable etiquette): We began listening (and singing, dancing, and arguing) to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (Hey, if Target can put out greenery in September, at least give me mid-November!).

Part of our thinking in starting earlier than usual this year is that we love the Christmas season and our hearts needed the hope and encouragement of Christmas during a hard season. The other part of our thinking is that Christmas always flies by so quickly. No month on our calendar ever looks as full as December, and we thoroughly enjoy the celebrations. As much fun as all the festivities are, though, I often find there are very few windows to slow down and reflect in my own heart about the reality of Christmas—the glory of the incarnation of the Son of God who came for me—and what impact this should have on my heart.

Everywhere you turn these days, room is being made for Christmas to come. Stores have cleared shelves to make room to stock holiday merchandise. Families have shifted furniture around to make room for a tree and other Christmas decorations. Radio stations have cleared playlists to make room for holiday tunes.

But the great Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” reminds us that the most important place where room needs to be made for the coming of the Christ (that is what “Christmas” means, of course) is in our hearts. By our hearts, of course, I mean our deepest emotions and affections—the things we feel that shape who we are and how we approach life each day. Our hearts control the rest of our lives—how we speak, how we spend our time, how we prioritize, how we engage with others.

All of God’s Word in every season speaks to our hearts, but I want to make sure we slow down to consider how the coming of Jesus addresses our emotions and affections. It is quite simply too easy to make it through December and never allow the truth of the incarnation to impact and reshape my deepest emotions … and I believe God would have us experience something quite different this year.

So in our sermons this December, we are going to turn to some of the most beloved prophecies and accounts of the coming of Christ and consider together how the Son of God born in a manger would meet us in a wide range of emotions. Fair warning: it’s not merely “joy” to the world; we’ll also ache together and examine the grief and turmoil our hearts know all too well. But we will experience comfort and hope alongside them because that’s what God does through his Word and Spirit—He brings those realities right into the painful emotions of our hearts. The coming of Jesus is, after all, “good news of great joy for all the people,” as we have heard the angel announce to the shepherds in Luke’s gospel.

Would you consider praying with me in preparation for these times together in God’s Word that God would speak to the depth of your heart? Ask him to show you the emotions there that perhaps you have shared with no one else, and ask him to make your heart soft to hear the challenge and the comfort of his Word. Many things that we can’t trust impact our emotions every day, but you can trust both God’s Word and his Spirit to shape your heart exactly the way He would have it. Join me as we together prepare room in our hearts for Jesus this advent season.