Prepare for Christmas
Prepare for Christmas. With only three days left, if you're like most, you've probably already done most, if not all, of your preparation for Christmas. Your lights are hung and decorations set out (and have been since the Saturday after Thanksgiving), you've bought and made the gifts you're going to give and wrapped them nicely under the tree, cookies have been baked, food prepped, and parties planned. You have pretty much everything lined up and ready to go by the twenty second of December. So, why am I writing to you about preparing for Christmas three days before? Because, if you're like most people (or like only me) you haven't prepared this one crucial thing: your heart. Every year the holidays rush by in a blur. You put all your extra time and energy into getting everything ready in the excitement of the season, and then it's January all of the sudden, and you hunker down for a long winter, wishing for spring, summer, and the return of this joyous season that just went by way too quickly.
Preparation. You know there was a lot of preparation put into the first Christmas? But, of course you know this. You know that from the beginning of time, to those "silent" 400 years between the Old and New Testament that God was orchestrating events to give a foreshadowing message of the Savior to come. From the nearly sacrificed son of Abraham to the laws instructing the Jews to kill pure lambs to cover for sins to the clear proclaiming of Isaiah the prophet of a child born in Bethlehem, God was preparing the world for the most influential person in history's entrance to this life. Not only did He just elude to the fact that Jesus was coming, but He organized the political environment to accommodate his divine plan. After the writing of the book of Malachi, the Jews had experienced a time of favor under the Persian reign, being allowed even to return to their homeland: Jerusalem. God was preparing. The domination of the world fell to the Hellenistic empire and Alexander the Great. God knew. He knew this would occur and that the Greek empire would split into four different realms, as predicted in Daniel. As prophesied by Daniel years and years before it's occurrence. Those four empires suppressed the Jews. God was preparing. In time, Rome would take over the civilized world, and with it, the famed taxation of the Jews, which would lead a man and his young bride to a little stable in the town of Bethlehem.
So much preparation for one baby's birth. If God found it so important to prepare his people for Christmas, is it then fair to assume that we as well should prepare? There are three days left. What if we spent these next few days in quiet prayer, meditating on truth. What if we rejected the shameless defamation of Christ as groups strive to suppress His glory by not even giving it our thoughts or worry. What if we just dwelt on the purest things and realized the good in our own lives. Then, maybe we could see, with clearer vision, the widow that is suffering through her first Christmas alone, the child who wonders if this will be their last Christmas as a united family, the person in the corner who can't find their place in a social setting and so sits alone through the festivities, or the father burdened with financial strain. Maybe your eyes will be opened to the mother who can't handle another sleepless night and another jam packed day of holiday preparation, who is ready to give up on her dream of giving her precious children a perfect set of memories that they will cherish as she cherishes her own childhood. Maybe that mother is you. Are you blind to your own needs as you prepare everything but yourself?
If you spent a little time in quietness during these next three days, maybe, just maybe it won't go a way so fast. Maybe you won't look back at the blur that was Christmas. Maybe you won't despise the stress of this season. With God's help, you just might catch a glimpse on of the joy on your children's faces on Christmas morning, not because they got the perfect toys, but because they have a mother that loves them and gives them her all. You might see a glimmer of the adoration in your husband's eyes as he realizes the effort you put forth to make this day what it is. You might appreciate with new understanding, the peace that must have enveloped the world, the day perfect love was born. You might be blessed by Christmas.
Dearest mother, don't get so lost in preparing the perfect holiday for everyone around you, that you forget to prepare yourself. Take a breath, give yourself the luxury of a quiet prayer and cup of coffee, because God desires that time with you and will bless it if you do.
I hope you have the merriest Christmas.
*I can't take credit for all the information here as a good chunk of it was from a sermon given in church yesterday.