I was in the Christmas spirit right up until about Thanksgiving. Most of November found me thinking of gift ideas, compiling fun holiday recipes, and pinning Christmas crafts for the kids. I was getting kind of excited. Gingerbread houses? Christmas card ideas? Punch recipes? Pin. Pin. Pin. Smile. Smile. Smile.

Then, out of nowhere, the calendar flipped to December and my mood flipped with it. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling very jolly. Melancholy settled on me. The weight of this broken world pressed in on me and tried to snuff out my Christmas joy. For a few days, I admit, I sat in that sadness and let it overwhelm me. After those few tearful days, I knew I needed to snap out of it. But how?

In the middle of a mundane afternoon, God sent me an earworm. It was the snippet of a Christmas carol, but I couldn’t figure out which one. “Prepare him room.” That was it. “Prepare him room.” “Prepare him room.” Again and again the song played in my head. Just those three words on repeat. For the life of me, I could not recall the song. I started to wonder if it was really a part of an actual song, or if I was just fitting any ole words into a familiar melody. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I sat in my car after dropping the kids off at a church program and pulled up google.

I laughed out loud when the title of the song popped up, “Joy to the World.”

Of course. Of course God would remind me that the cure for my Christmas sadness was JOY in Christ.

It’s hard to hold tight to joy in December for lots of reasons. One for me is the rush and fullness of it all. My heart longs to sit in front of my Christmas tree to reflect and quietly remember who Christ is and what He has done in my life. But there’s so much hurrying during December that it’s hard to stop long enough to truly and simply remember my Lord. I hate that my sweet Jesus gets pushed out of the way as we decorate the house, plan family get-togethers, and secure all the gifts.

This is why I felt such an intimate love as my Father sent me that specific earworm. Yes, JOY was to be the cure for my winter blues. But God also gave me instructions on how to accomplish my JOY: by preparing Him room in my Christmas and my life.

As I write this, we are anticipating the arrival of some family friends who will be staying with us for the weekend. They live states away, and we haven’t seen them in a long time. We are so excited for them to get here. But there’s a lot of work to do before they arrive. I will be washing guest room sheets, tidying the living room, running the vacuum, and planning meals for all of us. I will be preparing our home for them.

This, in essence, is what I feel God wants me to do for Jesus this Christmas. As I prepare room for Jesus in my Christmas and in my heart, I’m inviting Him in like a long awaited guest. When the busyness of Christmas squeezes in on me, I’m going to push back a little to make room for Him. I’m choosing to make small stops in my day to reflect by writing Bible verses that tell of my Savior’s birth. Each night I’m turning off all the lights except the candle of our Advent wreath and singing Christmas carols with my husband and children. I might just carve out a moment or two to sit in front of my Christmas tree and ponder this amazing season that celebrates the beginning of my Lord’s journey to Christ’s Tree- the cross. It’s in these small ways that I’m making my heart ready to receive Him this Christmas.

Dusty Reed

Dusty is a wife, a mother and a friend. Having grown up in a big city, she is now raising her family of seven on a farmstead in rural Nebraska. During weekdays Dusty can be found teaching her children at the dining room table. Or napping; it can be exhausting raising five kids! Dusty is always on the lookout for ways to avoid housework. Her favorite ways are meeting friends for coffee, preparing meals to take to others, or simply laying in a hammock with a good book. Often feeling like an inadequate mess, Dusty is allowing God to enter into those fragile parts of her heart to heal it. Anything she learns along this tangled path of life, she longs to share with others.