This is the word I would use to describe my upcoming week. Here’s why:

Next Sunday, I’ll be teaching my first lesson at First Baptist Simpsonville. I’m very excited and humbled by Sherri’s invitation. Obviously, pulling the details of the lesson together this week will require much preparation.

On Wednesday night, I plan to prepare the room. Thankfully, it only has one window to darken. I remember the Temple Baptist days with 8 windows. Not a lot of fun, but it certainly adds to the ambiance for a “candlelit Christmas celebration”. I’m planning to set up the tables, add the tablecloths, candles, greenery and small dishes of myrrh and frankincense.

Time spent preparing the lesson itself is always a wise investment — especially if you have as much to learn about the Word as I do. I want to handle it accurately and for me that requires quite a bit of “set-aside” time.

Time spent preparing the room is “icing on the cake”, in my opinion. It’s not necessary, but I do believe it is a tool that can be used to awaken our God-given senses, such as:

  • sight – lit candles in a darkened room
  • smell – the aroma of frankincense and myrrh
  • touch – hand-held candles/frankincense and myrrh
  • sound – music playing quietly in the background

God gave us our senses to enjoy. I can’t imagine a better time or place to use them!

The most important (and dare I say the most difficult?) preparation must first take place in my own heart. If I’m not careful, I can easily become entangled in the joy of preparing a lesson and neglect the preparation of my own heart and mind. James talks of how the prayers of the righteous (not perfect – but right with God) are powerful and effective. I believe this truth translates to our service as well. I’m fooling myself if I think unconfessed sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc., doesn’t hinder God’s effectiveness through me — so self-preparation is a must.

Maybe it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite Christmas songs also includes the word “prepare”.

Prepare A Place

Prepare a place, while you’re waiting.
Prepare a place for the coming One.
Prepare a place and be patient.
While you wait for the coming One.

Chorus:
Wait for the coming One!
While you wait for the coming One!

Prepare your heart, while you’re waiting.
Prepare your heart for the coming One.
Set time aside and be quiet.
While you wait for the coming One.

– written by Michael W. Smith and Christine Dente, “Gloria”