Advent | Day 18

Wednesday, December 14

  • Psalms 49, 119.49-72
  • Zechariah 3.1-10
  • Revelation 4.1-8
  • Matthew 24.45-51

It happens every year at this time—the decorating of my parents’ home for Christmas. There are several nativity scenes: the tiny Anri set hand carved in Italy, a gift from dear friends; the solid white porcelain, beauty in simplicity; the olive wood set from Israel; and the painted ceramic collection. Each figure is carefully placed throughout the house, complimented by fresh cut holly from a friend’s yard. Special lighting finishes the placement of the nativity scenes, each with its own beauty.

The Lenox plates are next in the decorating scheme. Each plate represents one of the thirteen original colonies, beautifully painted with elements indigenous to the state. The fresh holly motif continues. Votive candles and name cards, with the state name written in calligraphy by my husband, adorn each plate. The tree comes last with approximately sixty years of ornaments, carefully placed, evoking precious memories of Christmas celebrations of long ago.

The finished product is an amazing display of a house prepared to celebrate the coming of the Christ Child.

All of this preparation makes me think of the preparation of oneself for the coming of Jesus. Preparation of the heart is the central focus of the Advent season. Yet, somehow in the midst of finishing class work, final exams, shopping for the perfect gifts for those we love, attending parties, preparing the special foods of the season, we fail to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Consider the words of the Psalmist:

The LORD is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
I turn my feet to your decrees;
I hurry and do not delay
to keep your commandments
(Psalm 119.57-60 NRSV).

It is the halfway point of Advent. Are you personally preparing for Christ’s coming? Take time today and the remaining days of Advent to prepare your heart for the gift that God gave the world in his Son. Meditate on God’s word, take joy that the LORD is your portion, thank Him for His grace, “turn your feet” to his decrees, and delight in His love for you!

Martha Minardi
Ministry Program Advisor

You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at:




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