Ready for Christmas?

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matthew 3:2)

It seems like everywhere we go during the month of December people will be asking the same question. At the grocery checkout counter – “Are you ready for Christmas?” At the bank – “Are you ready for Christmas?” At the doctor’s office¬≠ – “Are you ready for Christmas?”

I think the answer to that question depends on how you define “ready.” Let me ask you this question: “Are you ready for Jesus?” Now that puts the idea of being ready in a whole different Christmas light, doesn’t it?

The world is not very fond of the words “repent” or “repentance.” But they are good words. They mean “to make a radical change in one’s life, to turn and go in the opposite direction from sin toward God.” Repentance involves an element of grief over the way we have lived apart from God and a decision to run toward God. That was God’s idea of the way to prepare for Christ’s arrival in the book of Matthew, and it is still God’s idea of Christ’s arrival today.

Reflect for a moment on the words to this poem by Alice Hansche Mortenson and then answer the question, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

“Ready for Christmas,” she said with a sigh
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high…
Then wearily sat for a moment and read,
Til soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
“Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?”
She woke with a start and a cry of despair.
“There’s so little time and I’ve still to prepare.
Oh, Father! Forgive me, I see what You mean!
To be ready means more than a house swept clean.
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree.
It’s the heart swept clean that He wanted to see,
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin.”
So be ready for Christmas – and ready for Him.

During this Advent season may we prepare our hearts and minds not only for the celebration of the birth of Jesus but for the very fulfillment of the promised return of Christ.

Grace & Peace,
Bob Clark

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