Preparing for the Birth of the Baby

By: Deana Bell, Director, Restored Marriage
I love to decorate. It is a creative outlet for me that I truly enjoy. But at Christmas, it seems overwhelming. There are some years that I have skipped it altogether. But this year I started to remember how happy it makes me to see my home decorated for Christmas, so I decided to take the leap. As I looked at the more than 10 large boxes of decorations that I own, I began to wonder if I had made the right decision; but I pressed on. I opened each box and carefully pondered each item inside. Was it something I wanted to use again, or was it something that I needed to sell or donate? Some items had personal memories attached to them: like the Raggedy-Ann ceramic that I painted in Girl Scouts when I was young; the vintage Currier and Ives tin tray that I scored at a thrift store; and the "piece-de-resistance" (another thrift store find, by the way), a ceramic Santa taking a knee and praying over the manger of Baby Jesus. 
I began to think of all of the other preparations that needed to be done. The cookies, Christmas dinner preparations, gifts for family members and special friends, and the overwhelming amount of wrapping that would need to be done. And here I was decorating, which now seemed unimportant and miniscule compared to everything else that needed to be done. I stopped to pray and heard, "This is just like preparing for the birth of a baby."
Instantly, I flashed back to the time 20 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. My first pregnancy. My first baby. And how overwhelmed I was, lacking the wisdom and the knowledge of experience to know what was important and what was not. As a first-time mother, I had much of the world trying to tell me what was important: which diapers were best, which crib mattress to buy, what birth plan to follow, what pediatrician to choose. Every decision seemed so overwhelming. And there were so many, many decisions to make before the baby arrived. 
It reminded me of Mary and the miraculous story of her pregnancy in the Bible. I began to imagine what it would be like to tell friends and family that I was pregnant with the Son of God, when I was not yet even married. I began to wonder how it must have felt to have to leave your home and return to Bethlehem, walking in the desert for miles and miles while 9 months pregnant. And then, after giving birth, having to hide your child from the crazy delusions of a king willing to kill all the baby boys of Jerusalem to protect his throne. 
Suddenly, decorating, cookies and gift-giving felt like silly distractions from the real meaning of Christmas. And then, once more, the Lord reminded me that this is "all part of His plan" at Christmas. Although the plans and the preparations that we make at Christmas may be different, He uses our anticipation of the birth of His Son to spread joy, peace, and forgiveness to the ones who are near to us, those who may need to know Jesus or be reminded of what His birth means for all of us. 
Our plans might be different than those of Mary and Joseph, but we are still preparing for the birth of His Son. No matter what our plans entail, we are co-laboring with Him to bring joy, peace, and anticipation to the people that we love and that surround us. So even though Mary never baked Christmas cookies, when we bake cookies for the neighbors, we are still sharing the joy of Jesus' birth with those around us. It's the one time of year that all Christians, whether near or far from the Lord, are on the same page, at least in spirit. We celebrate the coming of His birth. We celebrate the miraculous pregnancy. We celebrate a Savior who came to save us all from the death that we deserve. We tell others so that they, too, can come to know the Baby that saved the world and that shares a spot with us in Heaven someday. 
I looked back at the 10+ boxes that needed to be sorted, used and/or given away and I saw new meaning in my task. I saw myself preparing, once again, for the birth of a Son. Each ornament, each piece of décor, each garland, each candle, each item having a spot in my home. Each having a meaning or a purpose. And in the end, all of those items collectively creating an atmosphere to welcome the Baby King. Colors of red and white, throughout my home. Red for the blood He shed to save us. White for the purity that He was and is. The only pure and sinless human being that has ever walked the Earth. 
I hope and pray that as the birthday of our Lord and Savior nears, you will stop and ponder the process that has brought you to this point. What do your preparations say about your love of Jesus? How are you welcoming His Presence into your life? How are you telling others about who Jesus is? Stop for a moment and remember that His Name is Immanuel - God with us. And if God is with us, then we can walk in confidence that His Holy Spirit is guiding our steps. We can pray and ask forgiveness for the times we have not obeyed His commands. He is quick and consistent to forgive us. We can co-labor at Christmas time to show others the love and forgiveness He has shown to us. When we do this, others can share in the hope that we have in Jesus. 
Know that we, at Covenant Keepers, are praying for you this holiday season. Our entire ministry was born out of prayer. We know that prayer changes things. We know that Jesus is in us and with us, and we hope that you know the same. May abundant blessings be upon you as you celebrate the birth of our King. Whatever your situation, God is near. He has never left you and He never will. We pray that your preparations for Christmas will have new meaning this year. We pray that God will shower you and your family with peace and forgiveness as the coming year approaches. May Jesus' birth bring you great joy and anticipation of what awaits you in the year to come. 
Much love,
Your CK family

Deana is currently one of the Directors of Covenant Keepers, International. She graduated from the Dove School of Leadership through Chesapeake Bible College and received her Pastor's license in 2019. Previously she and her husband, Koji, served as the Mid-West Regional Directors of Covenant Keepers and as small group leaders in that area. She has a degree in Secondary Education as well as experience in counseling from a biblical standpoint. For the last 20 years, she has also served her family as a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. 
She is passionate about having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She has seen many miracles in her life as well as in the lives of the people around her. At her core, she is an encourager and disciple of Christ, spending most of her days ministering to people and digging into the Word. She also speaks at conferences, loves to write, and teach the Word of God. She and her family currently live and attend church in the Charlotte, NC area.

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