Thursday, December 24, 2009

Are You Ready for Christmas?

“Are you ready for Christmas?” gets bantered around a lot these days. In past years, most people answered this question by rattling off a list of what they’ve bought, needed to buy, had done or planned to do.

But this year, I’ve heard people lamenting that they don’t quite have a grasp on Christmas yet. They don’t feel ready. They don’t feel prepared. The world feels too dark, too out of control, too angry, too political and divisive, difficult. Overwhelmed by the mere prospect of trying to be ready to celebrate such a festive day, it seems too exhausting to deck the halls and trim the tree or send out cards and hold a feast. Who has the money? Who has the time? It’s just too much hassle over so much tinsel.

However, it is precisely when we feel the grip of the world’s darkness, that we need the joy of this sacred time. It is now when things are hard economically, physically and emotionally, that we must act as luminaries to others, encouraging everyone to prepare even as we ourselves do not quite feel ready. We are called to try whether we are shepherds or kings, soldiers or innkeepers, to recognize our own unwillingness to make room for Jesus in our lives.

None of us are ready or worthy to receive Christ; no one gave His family a place to stay, no one had a perfect home for Him prepared, except for Mary. Thus it is that the Church in its wisdom has given us these four weeks of Advent so we can be about the business of preparing our souls through scrutiny, through prayer, through the sacraments, to rediscover a sense of awe of God.

We can take comfort in knowing that preparing for the pleasure of the presents and the family and the feast is not necessarily selfish or greedy; that our outward actions reveal something of our hearts to the world. Our gifts, our meals, our decorations are all the little things we are called to do with great love. Further, God who knows and loves our whole hearts, will turn whatever we do towards Him to turn us towards Him. So deck the halls. Prepare the way. Enjoy this blessed waiting time and be ready and eager for Christmas. But remember:

The trees were not decorated.
The gifts were not wrapped.
There was no feast prepared.
There was no room ready.
There were unexpected and expected guests.
There was music.
There was light.
There was peace
and there was Christ.

The first Christmas was not ready for the reason of Christmas.

So, rejoice in your unreadiness, for it is why Christmas is at all.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

fabulous post!
thank you.

and Merry Christmas

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!