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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
behold the King of glory waits;
the King of kings is drawing near;
the Savior of the world is here.

Fling wide the portals of your heart;
make it a temple, set apart
from early use for heaven’s employ,
adorned with prayer and love and joy.

Redeemer, come! I open wide
my heart to thee; here, Lord, abide.
Let me thy inner presence feel;
thy grace and love in me reveal.

Georg Weissel’s “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”
(tune: Truro)
trans. Catherine Winkworth
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Today’s hymn comes from Psalm 24, often referred to as the Psalm of David. As King David declares the greatness of God’s reign in the preceding stanzas, we acknowledge the fullness and depth of the heavenly kingdom beyond our earthly comprehension. The verses that follow, shared in today’s devotion, call us to action as God arrives in infinite glory and splendor.

One would think our hearts and spirits are perpetually open to God’s presence. However, the psalm calls us to “fling wide the portals” of our hearts. How often, without realizing it, do we lock our hearts and our lives away, preventing God from filling us with love and grace? In this season of Advent, when we anticipate and patiently wait for God to join us on earth as Christ Jesus, it is easy to lock up and guard our faith. Or rather, it is easy for us to put our faith away for “safekeeping” as we instead focus on our earthly needs—holiday shopping, cooking festive meals, and making sure our decorations look just right.

All of these preparations come with the intention of great celebrations and joyful gatherings. But as we keep our energy and minds focused on these earthly expectations, we are left unprepared for God’s arrival at the gates of our hearts. King David calls us to imagine the beauty and grace of God’s kingdom (one much greater than his own), and we must joyfully invite God’s peaceful presence into our hearts at a moment’s notice.

O God of all kingdoms, let us be mindful of your nearing presence this season. Guide our spirits and prepare our hearts as living temples for your glorious reign. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Program Manager,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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