Getting Ready

When our life-long friends were coming from Montreal to visit, Tom and I rushed around doing a last minute pick-up and cleaning of the house. On the night table in our guest room, I placed a book of short devotional readings, a box of Kleenex and a chocolate bar, because these friends love sweets. Last minute preparation for company is a tradition with me. When my children were young, they would help. Each of us had our own special job in the process. One time in particular, everything done, we had all flopped down to rest in the living room. My son, Brad, then about ten years old, said, “It’s a good thing we have company, Mom. Otherwise, the house would never get cleaned.”
Every year, many of us spend the Christmas season rushing around getting ready for the visits of family and friends. We buy or make gifts for our loved ones. We clean and decorate our homes, often placing the tiny figures of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings and baby Jesus on the mantel or a table. Even if we don’t call ourselves religious, we go to church at least on Christmas Eve.
Although we complain about all this extra effort, an amazing thing happens. At least for the Christmas season, many of us become infected with God’s Spirit of love. We smile more. We care more. Our hearts open up to the goodness in this world. I imagine God, standing with us in our preparations, and saying, “It’s a good thing you celebrate my birth among you every year. Otherwise, some of you might never let go of all your busyness and concerns to open your heart, even a crack, to welcome me.”
The Bible tells us, “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make straight paths for him.” (Matthew 3: 3)

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