How To Prepare for Christmas

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, and it's time to prepare our hearts for Christmas. We do this for only one reason, so that the light of Christmas can shine into our hearts, so that His light becomes our light, the light of a felt, interior joy that shines out from us to a darkened world. But how? How does this happen? Here is how it's happening to me.

For much of this year, I have sensed the need to step out and take a new risk with Landmark Journey Ministries. The first two years have been spent doing much individual and small group work with men. But I have known for a long time that I was being asked to do something more. God would often say something like this to me: “Lead others into My presence. Let Me do the rest.” I knew what this would mean: asking others to come away for a weekend in order to be quiet before God, open His Word, and listen to His voice.

But I resisted. And the hesitation was based in fear: What if I planned the retreats and no one showed up? What if I got others there and God didn’t show up? What if I couldn’t handle all the details to pull this off? But after two years of hesitation, the call only got stronger. I could disobey and play it safe, or I could obey and take the risk.

So what did I do? With the encouragement of the ministry board, I chose to take the risk. Now there are now two retreats planned in February, one for couples and one for men. Make no mistake. It still feels like a risk, and I still struggle with fear, yet I have never felt closer to Jesus in my life as a man. This is how the light of Christmas becomes that interior light in our own hearts, how the baby in the manger becomes Christ in us. We quit trusting in ourselves and follow His voice, hanging all our hopes on Him. In that place of vulnerable trust, He loves to love us and come through for us. The risk now doesn’t feel so much like shouldering a terrible burden; it feels more like sharing an adventure with a trusted friend.

So this Christmas season, take a risk. Obey the Lord of Christmas and watch what happens!

For information and registration concerning the retreats in February, check out Events on the website here.

Next week: another risk!