Prepare Him Room

This Advent, we are reflecting on “Joy to the World” as we wonder what it means to wait with creation in this season. We hope you’ll join us.

by Bethany Winz

Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing.

Advent is here, and we find ourselves caught between longing and joy. We point ourselves toward Christmas and are grateful for the incarnation and the wonder of God with us, fully human and fully divine.

Even still, we wander through the world, constantly bumping against its sharp edges.

We hear about the rusty-patched bumblebee’s classification as an endangered species, and we sit with the sorrow that our children and grandchildren may never know this once-common insect. Scientists tell us that the window to mitigate the effects of climate change is narrow—narrower than we once thought—and we wonder if this news will change anything.

The headlines continue rolling in, offering a thousand reasons for despair. Just when we think the sorrow is enough to overwhelm us, Advent comes along and invites us to wait and grieve and hope.

It invites us to wait with a creation that knows well what it is to long for redemption and newness of life.

And it invites us into hopeful action to care for our places. It asks us to make space in our lives for the return of Christ—to value what he values, from the towering redwoods to the tiniest diatoms at the bottom of the ocean.

We sing Advent songs that call us into joy even in the midst of the sorrow, following the example of a creation that sings of the goodness of the coming of the Lord.

It’s the joy I feel when I crouch in front of my black-eyed Susans to watch the sweat bees gather nectar and pollen or taste the kale from my own garden. It’s the joy of smelling the Cumberland river snaking through my neighborhood and feeling the leaves crunch under my feet. It’s the joy that makes room for the life of the world to come.

Let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing.

I listen to heaven and nature singing of his coming, and my heart prepares a little bit more room. I pay attention to my place, and I am invited into expectant, active waiting. I am invited to hope for all things to be reconciled, and I am invited to plant a garden while I wait.

And here, in the midst of everything that is not yet as it will be, I find joy.

Bethany Winz is Program Manager for A Rocha USA. She is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University’s Social & Environmental Justice program. A lover of good tea, good books, and small things, she dreams of building her own tiny house one day.

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