One of my favorite things on Mondays is to be asked the question: “Are you ready for some football?” To be sure: I always am!
During this season, the question is typically asked differently: “Are you ready for Christmas?”
When someone asks you if you’re ready for Christmas was is your response? What do you think of? Lights, cookies, snow, presents?
If being “ready” for Christmas only involves the trappings our attitudes might be influenced by frustration and exhaustion because we don’t feel like we’ve done enough, or there’s so much more to do. Then what could be a joyous season devolves into one big mess of negativity. It might look a little like this:
So how do we get from the image (and attitude) above to more of this:
I have one thought: First, get ready for the right things. A few years back I was in an ER waiting room on December 23. The conversations were enlightening and a bit sad. One man was grousing about how we couldn’t have Christmas without snow (it was an unusually warm December that year). Another woman had fallen and broken her ankle. She weeped when her husband came in, and through tears apologized for being such a klutz and ruining Christmas. I bit my tongue really hard to keep from telling her she was not that powerful; that her fall would “ruin” Christmas–her party plans maybe, but not Christmas.
We experience the sour faces of the “Negativity Scene” above when we get miffed at things not going our way. Imagine how sour Mary and Joseph could have felt. Not much was going their way: all that travel, unexpected/untimely pregnancy, and no place to stay. Yet they did not miss the wonder and awe of the birth of the Christ Child. Emmanuel. God with us.
The second suggestion I would make is to expect things to go wrong. Cookies will burn. Turkeys won’t cook. Cars will break down. Kids will get sick. You get the idea. Expect it. And when it does, what if it does? It might feel like there can’t be Christmas, but know this: God will show up! Don’t miss it. Don’t miss the miracle.
So, are you ready for Christmas? It will come, and it will go. Don’t miss it while you grouse about what might have been, or should have been. I like the words of the old hymn: How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of the heavens. No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still the dear Christ enters in. (O Little Town of Bethlehem, verse 3)
Be ready to listen, to watch…to receive.