Imagine you have just discovered that Jesus is indeed arriving at your home today. After recovering from the initial amazement, which preparations would you frantically begin scurrying around to complete?

Would you set out to perform a full-on proverbial cleaning-of-the-house? Would you strive to make everything look just right, all clutter out of sight? Would you set out your fanciest things (read: Mother’s best china, etc.) and begin to prepare the finest of foods? Would there be things in your home that you tuck away in dread and shame that Jesus might see them?

What, do you believe, will you need to do before Jesus finds the space you have invited Him into acceptable? Or could Jesus step into your life, messy, common, and broken as it may be, and enjoy you just as you are?

And, so, here we come to another great Advent paradox together: Jesus Christ loves and receives us just as we are while at the same time loving us far too much to forego opportunities to form and sanctify us. I believe that even though He loves us (and, actually, quite likes us) in this very moment—in our very reality—He also longs for us to tend to our hearts in holiness and repentance. Today, in the safety of being loved and received for ourselves, there may very well be some preparations that He is calling us to undertake.

Pause for a few quiet moments in a comfortable place and be still. Imagine having set out a beautifully appointed table for Jesus’ visit, and when He arrives, the two of you sit down face-to-face for a meal together. Is it awkward, or comfortable? Who speaks first? What is said? What is the expression on Jesus’ face, and how do you feel in that moment? Visualize Jesus as a good listener, a gentle but righteous teacher, and an engaging friend, and, held in his steadfast love, speak whatever is on your heart.

“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep;
    man and beast you save, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

—Psalm 36:5-7 (ESV)





Welcoming Table

Thessalonika, Greece, 2018