Pre-Christmas Heart Check

Why, oh why did Dr. Jones schedule an appointment in mid-December? Who has time for that? My heart is fine.                        

As holiday prep time grew shorter, my to-do list grew longer. My peace meter registered closer to frayed-at-the-seams-frantic than to Christmas card-perfect.

 “This appointment is a waste of time,” I said to my husband. “I have so much to do before Christmas. I need to shop and send cards, and I need to decorate the tree.”

My feisty cardiologist had scheduled an echocardiogram, and trust me, no one argues with Dr. Jones. She ordered this test and others because she suspected a blockage or a rhythm issue.  

During the test, I watched the screen. Some views showed the four chambers working in a synchronized fashion. Other angles revealed my valves tapping out the rhythm of the blood flow.

After carefully examining the film with its in-depth images, Dr. Jones deemed my heart “fine and dandy” (my un-medical translation). Emptied of angst and complaints, I took a deep breath and exhaled before I walked to the car.

I rested my hands on the steering wheel, leaned my head in between them, and thanked God for a good report. Then I confessed my complaining spirit and my misplaced priorities. I asked God to calm my heart and exchange my Christmas agenda for His.

The Christmas carol on the radio echoed the peace that now filled my heart. The Prince of Peace is also the Great Physician who sees far beyond the scope of medical technology. He sees into the inner me, my heart of hearts, and cleanses it of sin as He draws me close to His heart.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.   

1 Samuel 16:7

As we celebrate Advent, perhaps you’ll join me as I ask the following questions about the spiritual health of my heart and pray,

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

Pre-Christmas Heart-Check Questions

  • What does God see when He probes the inside of my heart, the real me?
  • Do I begin each day seeking and praising Immanuel, God with us?
  • Am I laughing enough and enjoying His presence and my family’s?
  • Am I sharing God’s blessings with others as He intends?
  • Am I focused on pleasing God with my Christmas preparation, or am I simply checking off the holiday list? (Sometimes my priorities get out of rhythm, and my mind churns with so much to do. At other times, my heart is filled with wonder that Jesus loved me enough to lie on manger hay as a baby and die on the cross as my Savior.) 

In 2018, my Christmas season started with anxiety, as well as tests to check for blockages and irregular rhythms in my heart. This year I’m asking God to conduct a pre-Christmas check of my heart of hearts. I want Him to show me any blockage of sin or priorities that are out of rhythm with His heart.

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I’m sure, like me, reader friend, you desire to worship and celebrate with a pure heart the One who is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

I look forward to reading your comments about Christmas.

*Scripture verses are taken from the English Standard Version.

Images by Pixabay

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37 thoughts on “Pre-Christmas Heart Check

  1. Great questions Jeannie. Thanks for the reminder to slow it down a little.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thanks so much, Tim. That’s encouraging. I need reminders, too, to slow down and let God speak louder than my to-do list. Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by.

  2. What a great checklist; perhaps one we should start each week with my friend. Loved the post; thank you! And am glad that everything checked out okee dokee.

  3. Thank you, Jeannie for reminding us where our hearts and minds should be this holiday season. I love this sentence…”Am I focused on pleasing God with my Christmas preparation, or am I simply checking off the holiday list?” I enjoy my lists, perhaps too much, and this time of year it can become a burden more than a blessing. We must intentionally move our focus back to the one who is the reason for the season. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

  4. Thanks, Jeannie! What an important practice…Pre-Christmas Heart-Check. I love it. And I SO need it!

    LOVE THIS QUOTE: “This year I’m asking God to conduct a pre-Christmas check of my heart of hearts. I want Him to show me any blockage of sin or priorities that are out of rhythm with His heart.”

  5. J. D., what a wonderful idea to begin each week with a heart check. Merry Christmas.

  6. What a wonderful Christmas and everyday message. Thank God, Jeannie, for the talent He’s given you for His glory and purpose.
    Mala and I share your thoughts, particularly this Christmas advent. We’re traveling back to Macon from Texas following my heart procedure for Arrythmia. His watch care was a blessing and a wonder of warmth and peace. BTW: one of His primary tools for my care was and is my life mate, Mala.
    Our lives, individually and collectively, are evidence of His tender mercies and blessings for absolutely no reason, safe His love through our Savior, Jesus the Christ.
    Merry Christmas my sister.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Bill, I appreciate your comments so much. It’s encouraging to hear from readers. We prayed for your procedure and were thankful to hear good reports. Thank you for reminding us of the blessing of God’s watch care over us. Rest well and enjoy a blessed Christmas with your sweet wife.

  7. Doreen, I’m a list maker, too. You’re right that we need intentional focus. Merry Christmas to you!

  8. Love this, my friend!! We all need this heart check!!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thanks so much, Julie. I need the heart check, too, Julie, and often. Enjoy a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  9. Loved your thoughts in this post and the need for a heart check. It’s so easy to get wrapped up (no pun) in a to do list and activities and lose joy. Thanks for pointing us to focus

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I appreciate that, Marilyn, and I love your pun. 😉 You’re right that it’s easy to lose focus. I need those reminders, too. Enjoy a fun and peaceful Christmas.

  10. Thank you for the reminder!🙂

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      You’re welcome, Kari. I needed the reminder, too. God always gives us just what we need at the right time, doesn’t He? I appreciate your comment so much. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family as we celebrate our Savior.

  11. Dear sweet Jeannie, So grateful that your heart is “fine and dandy”. I knew that before all the tests. You are so precious! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas filled with friends, family, fun, lots of love and good health. Thank you for your check list. I think it’s perfect for all of us.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Sandy, thank you for kind comments. I appreciate you stopping by to read, and I’m grateful for your comments. I certainly need the checklist, too. I do hope you and your family enjoy time together as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

  12. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Jean, I need the heart check, too–often. Thanks so much for your comments. I hope you and your family have a peaceful and joyful Christmas.

  13. God’s really been examining my heart this year and removing the sin that so easily entangles me. I have printed out your questions and put them on my refrigerator. May God continue to draw us closer to His heart.

  14. What a great checklist for my heart, Jeannie! Thank you for sharing your insights.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Kathy, I’m grateful God guided me to consider the questions and write about them. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Merry Christmas!

  15. What a wonderful devotion!!! Unfortunately, Christmas can be very stressful. I need to be very intentional about heart checks. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insight with us.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Evelyn. I too need to be intentional about checking to see if my heart is aligned with God’s. I’m thankful He’s patient and forgiving. Have a blessed Christmas filled with joy.

  16. Thankful that His life in and through us is our only hope of glory…on our best or worst days…. My, how I need my Savior! Thank you, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      You’re so right, Jan, that He is our only hope of glory. I’m thankful our Savior forgives us and continues to call us back to worship Him. I appreciate your comments. Merry Christmas.

  17. Beautiful, Jeannie, and so true. I must admit, mine has been a little out of rhythm lately. It’s easy to let our to-do list become the focus.

    Years ago, I, too, went in for a heart cath. It was clean. As I thanked God, his words to me were. “They looked inside your heart and found it clean. Can I?” Ouch!

    Thank you for the reminder. I pray you and yours have a blessed a Christmas.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Starr, it seems at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we can get distracted by the to-do list so easily. That’s happened to me recently, too. Thank you for sharing your heart cath experience and the words God spoke to you. We all need to consider that question daily, don’t we? Have a joy-filled and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for stopping by.

  18. I think I need this check up every day!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Loretta, I know I do. It’s so easy to lose our focus when we’re busy, isn’t it? I’m glad God calls us back to Him and guides us back to His priorities. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting. Merry Christmas!

  19. A checklist for every day and not just at Christmas. Thanks, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I certainly could use the checklist daily, Barbara. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Have a peaceful, joyful Christmas.

  20. I loved your prayer, Jeannie, “I asked God to exchange my Christmas agenda for His.” As one who is a planner (and a worrier when things don’t go as planned), I understand the angst that comes with the holiday season. Thank you for sharing this message to remind us what Christmas is all about. (So glad that heart check-up turned out good). Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.

  21. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Katherine, I’m a fellow planner and one who also tends to worry when plans go awry. I know that God’s plans are far better and hope to use the checklist often to align my thoughts with His. Perhaps you and I can remind each other. May God fill you with peace and joy as you celebrate His coming to be the Savior of the world, including us. Merry Christmas.

  22. A pre-check is so needed! Thanks!

  23. Love this. Thank you for writing it.

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