“Let every heart prepare Him room.” It’s one of my all-time favorite lines from one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. I tend to think about it all season long as we journey through Advent. I mull over the idea of decluttering before Christmas to make room for our Lord in our lives, hearts, and homes.
What does it mean to truly “prepare Him room?” What does it look like to make space for the light of Jesus to burst forth into our lives this Christmas?
Decluttering Before Christmas: An Opportunity Each Year
Every year, we get the opportunity to take on this task of decluttering mentally and physically. We get to ask ourselves: when Jesus comes, what will He find? Will He find room at the inn, or be forced to the fringes of a heart, soul, home, and life stuffed too full of all the wrong things?
Decluttering isn’t about staying hip to the trends (Kon Mari, anyone?) or trying to be something you’re not (not everyone needs to be a minimalist!). It’s simply letting go of what’s holding us back. It’s about “preparing Him room” in every way possible.
Make Room Mentally: Declutter Your Mind
Advent is a great time to meditate on what’s taking up mental space. For me, this looks like reflecting on my relationships, practicing mindfulness, and writing out everything bouncing around my brain.
Take Stock of Relationships
First and foremost, Advent gives us an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with God. Are there sins holding us back from a deeper relationship with Him? Most parishes offer an Advent penance service. Commit to asking for forgiveness for whatever is weighing on your heart this season!
Mental decluttering also includes taking stock of our human relationships. Are there some that need attention? Is there someone in your life who needs your forgiveness, or someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Are there relationships that are not life-giving, fruitful or helping you grow?
Advent provides the opportunity to really think about what relationships are leading you toward Christ, or away from Him. It’s an opportunity to “make room” in our hearts and minds by mending relationships that need mending and letting go of ones that are not serving us on our walk toward holiness. We all know what a mental drain it can be to have a lingering argument, estrangement, or tough relationship. Advent is a time to free up that mental space by offering or accepting forgiveness where needed and moving on where possible.
To me, mindfulness means being aware of what I’m holding onto. This is especially timely in the Advent season and as we work to “prepare Him room.”
When Jesus comes, will He find space in your head and your heart, or will they be too cluttered with attachments?
Being aware of what we’re allowing in and clinging to is an important first step in detachment. If we want to detach from the habits, vices, and sins cluttering our souls, we have to know what we’re working with. Mindfulness offers the opportunity to notice what is holding us back from complete and total attachment to Jesus.When Jesus comes, will He find space in your head and your heart, or will they be too cluttered with attachments? #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Write It Out
One of my very favorite ways to practically free up some headspace is by writing down everything I can think of that is taking up mental energy. Everything from last-minute presents to buy or cookies to bake, to ruminating on goals I didn’t achieve or habits I want to start in the new year, I write it all out with a pen and paper.
The physical act of writing seems to transfer it from my brain to the notebook, freeing up the space it occupied. Once I see it all written out, it feels easier to tackle. I can easily figure out what is urgent and timely and what can be shelved for another day, week, or even next year.
I often feel frazzled this time of year, which makes it hard to fully enter into the waiting, quiet, and beauty this season offers. Transferring the mix of lists, longings, and other random items from my head to my notebook frees up space to ponder the mystery of this season and a God who took on flesh to save us.
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Make Room Physically: Declutter Your Stuff
In addition to clearing the mental clutter, this season provides an opportunity to get rid of physical clutter. We have a chance to be rid of the trappings of a too-full life that weigh us down.
Advent is the perfect time to take an honest look at the physical possessions filling our spaces since there is typically an influx of new things from the various gift exchanges that take place this time of year.
Quiet Your Space
I love this term I first heard from decor blogger Myquillin Smith. She talks about “quieting a space” each season. I think this is especially appropriate for Advent.
Quieting a space simply means stripping it down to the bones. Advent is a season of waiting, a season of quiet, joyful hope, and anticipation. It makes sense to observe this season by creating a simpler space as we wait for Jesus to flood in with His light and love. Designate a room to “quiet” and take down everything non-essential. (Leave your curtains up! No need to live in a fishbowl.) Stash the picture frames, nick-necks, and miscellaneous items out of sight.
Purge with Intention
Now we’re really digging into the literal part of “make room”!
In all seriousness, it’s a perfect time of year to go through our possessions with intention and let go of excess. Oftentimes, downsizing my belongings reveals some attachments in my heart that need to be dealt with. Getting rid of stuff shows me to what I’m super attached and with what particular vices I struggle.
Prayerfully purging our homes—not just filling a bag for Goodwill, but asking God to help us with the discontent, greed, envy, pride, irresponsibility, or indifference that lead to such excess—is a spiritual practice that truly makes room not just in our closets, but in our souls.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
Advent is such a beautiful season of waiting, anticipation, and preparation! As we run around preparing our tables for gatherings, our homes for hosting, and our presents for gifting, let us also prepare our minds and hearts for the gift of a Savior who took on humanity to save us.
Let us truly make room in our hearts, souls, and homes for the ultimate Gift this Christmas season, a Gift freely-given and wholly-undeserved.
How do you make room for Jesus during Advent?Decluttering Before Christmas: Physically + Mentally #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Valerie Keinsley is a wife to a police officer and mama to two little ones living in central Indiana, where she and her husband are currently doing a massive renovation of their 116-year-old home. She loves WWII novels, decaf chai lattes, and trying to keep houseplants alive. She is striving to find and name beauty in the midst of the mundane, and loves to share her “good lists” on instagram. You can find out more about her here.