Monday Mindset: Ready?

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.

Waiting…Expectantly

 

There’s a HUGE difference in the way believers should be waiting.

If we believe that God is in control. That what happens in our lives has reason and meaning. That even when we can’t see or understand what’s going on…God is still in the business of “working all things for our good” (Romans 8:28).

Then we should be expecting something—anticipating God to do something.

 

As we draw ever nearer to Christmas, I pray that we would find our childlike faith. Watch a child and how they are just about to burst with anticipation.

God is about to break into the scene afresh.

Anticipate it. Expect it. Rejoice in it.

PRAYER: God, I want to believe you are working all things for my good. I don’t always see it. I don’t expect it. Forgive me for doubting and looking for the other shoe to drop. Renew my childlike faith and give eyes to see you working anew and afresh. Amen.

 

As a Watchman Waits

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6

 

I have a friend who says God wired certain people to work third shift. I am not one of them.

But I have had to work third shift, and so I get what the Psalmist is talking about.

 

I would start my shift well, but somewhere around 3:00 the hours would begin to drag and staying awake became the hugest chore of all. I would start begging the hands of the clock to move.

I’d scan the horizon for any sign of morning light.

And now I wonder: do I look and long with that same intensity for the Lord?

Advent gives us the opportunity to practice, but are we even looking?

PRAYER: God, we confess that our souls are often very weak at watching. We are consumed with the daily-ness of life. In these remaining days of Advent help us to be faithful watchers, anticipating and longing to see you every step of the way. Amen.

 

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