In my last blog post, I brought up the fact that preparing my heart should be more important than packing my bag – especially as I look toward Convention and what it has in store for me there. I mentioned that this had been an internal struggle, while my external self was seemingly unaware, preoccupied, and probably packing my actual luggage at the time.
Several weeks ago, we celebrated Jesus’ birthday and Christmas. This is my favorite holiday of the year for many reasons.
1. My family tends to make it a literal birthday party celebration – we even sing to Jesus!
2. I am hurried from church service to church service singing the wonderful Christmas hymns throughout Christmas Eve and the Sundays surrounding it
3. Mom makes her famous monkey bread and Gram brings the cranberry salad with a cream cheese filling. (Did I mention I may gain 5 pounds in just one holiday?!)
4. I am more excited than a four year old on Christmas morning and wake everyone up extra early to open presents
These are simply a few reasons why I love Christmas. I could continue on about the intimate feeling that brings people together and inspires us all to do good. I could even ramble about the delicious cookies, Buddy the Elf (from my favorite movie), and our wacky tradition of receiving Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve and then wearing them for Christmas morning.
But I don’t want to focus on that.
I realized something important after writing my last blog post about packing our bags and preparing our hearts. It hit me like a brick wall on Christmas morning. We need to prepare our hearts every day. Not just when we are leaving for a trip, not only when we have to pack our bags, but always.
I didn’t prepare my heart for Christmas day or even for the holiday season really. I went through the motions, became excited for what I would be receiving, enjoyed picking out what I was giving, and loved baking! But those things had all been the same for the past 19 years. I didn’t prepare my heart for the touching Christmas Eve service that truly connected with what Mary and Joseph had gone through that evening. I didn’t prepare my heart for the hymns of God’s grace, kindness, and ever giving love.
I wasn’t ready!
I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t opening, I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t talking, I wasn’t asking, and I surely wasn’t listening for what I should’ve been.
I was praying for a puppy. I was opening presents. I was reading directions. I was talking to grandparents. I was asking for money. I was listening to family stories.
Where was God this Christmas? He was in the hymns, He was in the services, He was in my heart but really, where did I put Him?
LIGHTBULB MOMENT: I need to prepare my heart EVERYDAY to receive God. Not just when I’m going on a trip.
God was here with me this Christmas – but I didn’t accept Him like I should’ve.
So here’s the plan – as you get ready for Convention (or for the next semester, the new work week, Sunday School lessons, a basketball game, graduation, Senior Year, etc.), prepare your heart. Pretend you can’t do anything without preparing it. Women pretend it’s your purse, Men pretend it’s your wallet. YOU NEED IT TO BE READY.
Prepare it each and every day for each and every activity.
They say it takes 28 days to form a habit.
Alyssa Cable is a 19-year-old from Johnstown, Pa. currently in her junior year Eastern Mennonite University majoring in Elementary Education. Mennonite Church USA is a big part of Alyssa’s heart and she is so excited to be blogging about Convention. She loves writing, playing guitar and piano, and laughing.