It was an innocent question, but very 'American'. I was trying to get out the door from a late night at church and still feeling dazed from a hard few days. "Are you ready for Christmas?, " she said so innocently...My husband and I, well, we answered as best we could, but I easily read his expression, his true thoughts. We have different ideas about decorating, celebrating and enjoying Christmas, he being more practical and myself, well, a bit more creative and also more of a spender (sorry, dear.) I felt badly that this usually very reasonable and kind lady teased my love about being a 'scrooge,' and I also left frantically making lists in my head of all that 'needed' to be done to be 'ready' for Christmas...
What does it really mean to be ready for Christmas? In the eyes of this woman, well, she was referring to all the busyness that ensues come October 31st. [Yes, I'm guilty too...the Christmas music started in our home that day!] My heart lifts when I think of all the pretty Christmas things, the people to buy for, how to make the perfect Christmas card, and sadly, what gifts might come my way too... Add school and church into the mix...Christmas plays, events, gifts, and lessons to help the little ones feel festive, loved, 'happy'. But what about their souls? What about mine?
I've found myself leaning into the heart of the Lord a little more than usual this Christmas. Certainly not because I am 'more spiritual' than any other woman. No, it's simply because I feel my need, see my many imperfections. I desperately wait for my Savior to fill up the gaps that I feel, the ache for more than this life can offer. I find myself wondering what would bless Jesus on this, HIS birthday season. I'm guessing it's not all the fuss and bustle. I don't have any good answers, but simply a soul-searching that brings me back to my main callings...to love my God, my man, and...? Period. Could that be enough? What would it look like for me to ready my heart to love Jesus better, to love my husband better? I want so badly to be there.
My thoughts drift to the participants in the very first Christmas. How did Mary prepare for Christmas? Was she terrified, excited, hopeful? Perhaps all. What about Joseph? Could he have struggled to trust God with the call to his new family? How would he protect and provide? The wise men who came expectant, and the shepherds who didn't plan at all, simply received. And Jesus, He came. He came to them, to all of us, whether we are ready....or not. In years past, I have 'missed' His appearance, being distracted by the trappings of the American Christmas. This Christmas, I bring my heart, in need of the Savior that offers Himself to us in a messy stable, uncertain times. Here I am with my messy heart, doubts, uncertain and fearful times. All I must do is receive? I think perhaps, that is the best gift I can give my Savior....just to receive.