A few weeks ago, a letter dropped onto the doormat and emblazoned across it was
CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED,
that is like saying Jesus was never born. My youngest daughter Charlotte would have been upset by seeing this. She loved the lead up to Christmas and immensely enjoyed all the preparation, the hype and razzamatazz that went with it. She would start nagging me to put the Christmas tree up even though it might only have been the middle of November. The timing of taking the tree down always had to be negotiated as she would have been quite happy for it stay up until next the next year. She even enjoyed hearing the sometimes-tacky Christmas songs belting out in the shops far too early. Every year she would wait in eager anticipation and increasing excitement for the Coca-Cola ad to appear on the TV. I do have to say that I have seen this year’s Coca-Cola advert. It made me smile as I thought about how excited Charlotte would have been on seeing it.
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent. Advent purely and simply means “coming” So how do we prepare for the coming of the Christ child this Christmas. All too often we arrive at Christmas feeling totally frazzled. So much to do and so very little time in which to do it. Decorations to hang presents to buy and wrap, tree to buy or retrieve from the attic or back of the broom cupboard and decorate, Christmas cards to write, not to mention baking, cleaning, visiting, concerts, parties and so the list goes on. The social scene may be somewhat quieter this year but the lead up to Christmas will still I imagine be very hectic and extremely busy. In the midst of all these preparations let us not forget the reason for the season (corny I know but appropriate)
It is good to be ready and prepared for Christmas, but as well as focusing on all that there is to do, there is something else to consider, our hearts. How do we prepare our hearts to welcome the Christ Child? After all, isn’t this what Christmas is all about.
In the hall, I have a picture and each time I walk into the house I see it. Written on the picture is a verse from Psalm 46:10