One of the more poignant parts of the Christmas story, of which there are many, is that which tells us that when Mary and Joseph had finally made it to Bethlehem from Nazareth in Galilee, “there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). Thus Jesus was born in a corn-crib manger in the place where animals were kept because everything else in the little town of Bethlehem was already taken.
That in itself is something of a harbinger for our day when Jesus is unfortunately still being crowded out. In spite of the commercial appeal of Christmas and holiday decorations adorning virtually every lawn, people have not yet fully embraced the Christ Child. While everyone admires Jesus, only a few actually are prepared to follow Him.
Over the course of the Advent season, which is a time of preparation, we will consider the theological implications of making room for Jesus by looking at the popular Christmas carol “Joy to the World.” Because we often learn our beliefs more by what we sing than what we hear, I think this is a good way for us to make ready for the celebration of Jesus’ first coming, while also noting the importance of readying ourselves for His second coming.
By now you know the symbolism behind each of the Advent candles. As we move into Advent, we’ll look at how the four candles of Advent––hope, peace, joy, and love––respectively illumine important aspects of the famous carol’s message. Then, when Christmas comes, we will have made sure that Jesus has at least one heart with sufficient room for Him to enter. Once that happens in your heart, you will have every reason to celebrate a Christmas like none you’ve known before.
Sunday, December 1 | Hope “Let Earth Receive Her King” • 1 Peter 1:3-9
Big Idea: We are born into a living hope through our devotion to Christ as we receive the end result of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls.
Sunday, December 8 | Peace
“Let Men Their Songs Employ” • Psalm 96:1-10
Big Idea: We can lift our voices in peaceful praise to God for how in Christ the world is firmly established and all people will be judged with equity.
Sunday, December 15 | Joy
“No More Let Sins and Sorrows Grow” • 1 John 2:1-2
Big Idea: We rejoice in the confidence that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and furthermore the sins of the world.
Sunday, December 22 | Love
“He Rules the World with Truth and Grace” • Revelation 11:15
Big Idea: Advent points to the day in God’s future when love will have finally conquered all.
Sunday, December 24 | Christmas Eve
“Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room” • Luke 2:7
Big Idea: The call of Christmas is to make room in our hearts for the Holy Infant at whose birth there was none.
Sunday, December 29
“How to Secure Your Heart’s Desire” • Psalm 20:4
Big Idea: The first step to beginning a new year with Christ is to align our wants and plans in life with His.