Isaiah 40:3 ESV:
“A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Are you ready for Christmas?
When do you begin your Christmas shopping? I usually start to pay attention to sales and prices the first week of November, making mental notes of what to get people. But I normally don’t begin the actual shopping until after Thanksgiving. And I know, some of you are thinking that’s late, but I do make lists of what to get people first. When you have a list, life is already that much easier. There are so many people to count in – I usually need gifts for the younger kids, gifts for my brother and sister, gifts for my parents, and dog mom gifts for my group of friends! Sometimes it’s hard to choose the right thing, but sometimes you already have a vague idea in your head. It just helps to know who you haven’t sorted yet. As an example, this year I know I want to get my siblings something from Custom Photo Tapestry, but I usually wait till December to go ahead and purchase things. My brother would traditionally finish up his shopping on Christmas Eve. My late aunt would often say with a straight face that she considered herself behind if she wasn’t finished by the end of September!
How about decorating? Is the tree(s) up? The lights? Stockings? Many of us have different traditions when it comes to getting the decorations ready, right? Some of you had the tree up well before Thanksgiving. Some of you do it after shopping on Black Friday. When I was a kid, we’d sometimes not get our real tree until two weeks before Christmas. Whenever you’re planning on decorating, I hope it all goes well. There are so many different decorations out there, so I’m always excited to see what my friends put up. Last year, one of my friends used a neon light saying “Merry Christmas”. That looked amazing. She said she created it at Neon Filter. It added so much light and color to the room.
When we hear the question “Are you ready for Christmas?” we often think in term of presents, shopping and decor. But what about preparing your heart for Christmas? Wait… What? How do I prepare my heart for Christmas? I mean, Jesus has already come, so isn’t this verse about preparing the way for the Lord a little redundant?
I’ve been a pastor now for 13 years. So, I’ve had 13 Christmases that I’ve either taught or preached through. And so often, I’ve used the same text from Luke Chapter 2. It’s the same passage I read each Christmas Eve with my family. And if I can be frank with you, sometimes I get too familiar with the story. It loses it’s wonder. Yep, the virgin birth of the Savior of the world, fulfilling dozens of prophecies can become mundane. Why is that? I think it’s because we’ve prepared everything but our heart for the season.
You see, we often take it for granted that Jesus has come. We forget that for thousands of years people waited for, longed for, a messiah who would bring salvation. Those of us who are believers can forget how much of a miracle it is that the Savior has come, that light has shone in the darkness, that hope is offered to everyone. We’re so wrapped up in office parties and Hall-Mark movies that, if we’re not careful, we’ll miss the real significance of the season.
This Advent, join me in taking time to be still, to be quiet. To contemplate the messages delivered by the angels. To imagine what it must have been like that first Christmas. A King is born! A Savior is come! Every mountain brought low, every valley exalted. A highway, or path to our God is here. Christ Jesus has come! And as miraculous as that is, if our hearts aren’t looking for that, we’ll miss the glory of it all in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
So I’ll ask again, “Are you ready for Christmas?”
Adam Will is a native of Meigs County, residing in the Texas Community with his wife and three children. He is the Lead Pastor of Mount Hermon United Brethren in Christ Church. He loves reading, engaging with others, and seeing people transformed by following Jesus. You can dialogue with him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , or listen to his messages by going to Mount Hermon’s website at www.mounthermonub.org. Find his blog at www.adamwill.net