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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are you ready?

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Christmas is just seven days away. The question we ask each other at this time in the season is "are you ready?"

I wrapped gifts yesterday.

I still have several things to purchase.

Cookies have been baked, and eaten, and are waiting to be baked again.

I haven't begun to think about Christmas cards (and judging by the emptiness of my Christmas card basket, a lot of people are in the same boat).

But those things don't begin to answer the question "am I ready?" That realization came to me as I posted the question on the 4th Frog Facebook page.

We tell our children that Christmas isn't about getting presents. Christmas is about the greatest gift of all -- the birth of Jesus. We remind them that we are called to help those less fortunate; we take tags off the Giving Tree at church to fill their Christmas  wishes.

Are those the things that prepare us for Christmas? For me, those things often become just another "to do" to be checked off my master list. Here we are, a week before the holiday and I have so much to do to get my heart ready for Christmas.

For me, Christmas readiness will really begin with some quiet time. Not hours of it, but perhaps a few minutes each day where I can reflect on the true gift of Christmas. My preparation will be helped by thinking, as our priest suggested we do last week, about my heart, my home, my workplace as an empty manger. How am I preparing those places to receive Jesus?

When I am impatient in the line at the store, that is not necessarily lining the manger with softness.

When I dismiss the kids' request to sit with them and watch a Christmas movie because I have too many other things to do, I'm leaving the creche open to drafts and chill rather than creating a place of embracing warmth.

When I allow myself to become overwhelmed with the "to do's" and checklists, I am missing the opportunity to use my heart as a blanket in which to receive the infant Jesus and all that his birth promises.

In that light, the answer to the question "are you ready" takes on a whole different significance.

5 comments:

Andrea said...

its so easy to get caught up in all the business of the season. My husband does a prayer each night with the kids and they help him light the advent wreath. Its a great way to remember that we are in a time of preparation and prayer to receive the Christ Child and salvation-not just presents. It only takes a few minutes but it is a great way to center oneself!

The Everyday Mommy said...

Visiting from the Sampling. This is a great post.

I think on your and any other scale, I'm a bit behind on the Christmas preparations... thank you for making sure that when I do get in gear I concentrate on the right things!

Nancy said...

I love thinking of things as an empty manager. I am sure I need to line my with more softness!

Delainey made a paperchain in Sunday school with verses to read each day and a good deed to do. It has been great for me, to remind me of what is really important this season.

kimybeee said...

excellent post - we all need to be more aware of how we are representing our faith and how we are not living up to our own expecations!

Mrs4444 said...

You're right; this is important. I finally felt ready on Friday night, after attending an incredible band/choir concert by the high school. Wow. I am so ready now.