Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
Advent is the season in the Church calendar when Christians prepare their hearts to receive their King. December (well, really starting in November) is the time when we prepare for the onslaught that is the American Christmas. But honestly, this year, I don’t feel prepared either spiritually or organizationally for Christmas.
On the material side of things, the flu early this month knocked me out for more than a week. Additionally, I’ve been dragging for quite some time. I finally went in for my (tri)annual physical and discovered my thyroid levels are low, which explains so, so much. My physical condition plus additional challenges in our lives and schedules left me feeling like I’m reeling through December, desperately trying to get through the moment at hand. Parties, concerts, presents, trips, and countless other events. It doesn’t feel very peaceful, and I don’t feel very prepared.
But honestly, unprepared is probably a more realistic assessment of any human who comes into contact with the living God. Mary said, “Let it be to me according to your word,” but do you honestly think she was prepared for what was about to happen? Of course not. She couldn’t be truly prepared, but she had faith in the One who has all things in his control.
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I think it’s perfect because that innkeeper was also unprepared, scrambling, and eventually stuck the Holy Family in the stable out back. But still Jesus came. That’s the amazing thing about Christmas: No matter how prepared you think you are to encounter Christ, you have no idea how life changing that encounter will be. And that’s true whether it’s the first encounter we have with Jesus or the daily opportunities we have to say, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Or in my paraphrase, “Okay, God. I have no idea what I’m doing or how I’m going to do it, but I trust you know what’s going on.” I’m not ready for Christmas, but I’m going in knowing Jesus is ready for me.