Are You Ready For Christmas?

It is a question I will first hear near around the beginning of December, but as the 25th of the month approaches, the question comes my way more and more frequently. Are you ready for Christmas?  For my family, Christmas is pretty low key. My wife’s side of the family is either on the other side of Canada, or the other side of the world in New Zealand.  My mom and dad have passed away, and this year my 2 daughters are in New Zealand. Indeed Christmas this year for me will be very quiet.

For many people there are so many reasons not to be ready for Christmas.  So much shopping, travelling, decorating, baking, cleaning, wrapping and visiting to do.  So much to do, with so little time to do it.  Thrown in the mix is parties to attend and events to plan. There are long lines, traffic, stress, delays and expectations. And when the 25th of December does roll around we are exhausted and stressed out.  How can we de-stress? Is there a way to put away all the trappings of Christmas and rekindle a joy of Christmas?

The past four weeks at our church we have been preparing for Christmas (and taking the time to de-stress) by participating in what is known as “ADVENT“. Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. It begins on Sunday nearest to 30th November. Advent is the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and its name comes from the Latin word “adventus”, which means “coming”.

For hundreds and hundreds of years, believers all over the world have observed Advent. For four Sundays before Christmas Day, Christians have paused to reflect on the longing Israel had for their coming Messiah, and the joy we as Christians have knowing He is with us.  Each Sunday we light a candle in what is known as an Advent Wreath.  Each Sunday we focus on a new word to help us focus on the arrival of Jesus at Christmas.  The 4 words are “Hope, Peace, Joy and Love”.

Each Sunday as a new candle is lit, the wreath becomes brighter and brighter with each candle burning. On Christmas Eve we light the centre candle which is the Christ Candle, a reminder that Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus says in John 8;12, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life”

For the Christian, getting ready for Christmas is more than getting all the Christmas cards, shopping, baking, decorating, cleaning and visiting done.  Consider that ancient spiritual tradition called Advent. It takes our mind off ourselves, focuses our mind on Christ, and truly prepares our heart for Christmas.  And then all the fluff, trimmings and bling that we work so hard on before Christmas will lose its lustre. So are we ready for Christmas?  I encourage you to attend a nearby Christmas Eve service (ours in Hillsdale will be held at 7:00 pm) or take a Bible and read the Christmas story of Luke 2.  It will put your Christmas in a whole new perspective. MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!

7 thoughts on “Are You Ready For Christmas?

  1. Normally I work Christmas day as do many New Yorkers. If the Doctors, nurses, home health aides, Direct Care workers who take care of my brother Stephen at his Group Home Residence for Adults with Autism, police, Transit workers and firefighters decided were to take off the Big Apple would be a big mess. Plus I do not celebrate Christmas. Once my parents died I trashed the tree and all the decorations because I had no where to store them and no reason anymore to put them up. All that stuff went into the garbage and I have Never ever missed them. Also I disagree with the commercialism that has turned the holiday into Giftmas. I still don’t understand the meaning of spending money that you don’t have on things that nobody really wants.

    However because my brother Stephen has Autism for his sake I do participate. We spent Friday, Saturday and today Sunday together. Of course I had gifts for him but in his childlike mind Christmas means the two of us being together. Everyone else passed away years ago. Also for obvious reasons I attend the company Holiday party. I wish my co-workers Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas. One has to act the part even for something that you don’t celebrate. Once I retire next year I can drop that facade. I never married nor had children so it’s best for me to be working on that day. It means extra money which I very much needed being that New York is a very expensive place to live. I work in the field of Museum Security and even though the Museum is closed for Christmas and New Years I must be at work. Being on the job takes your mind off all the friends and family who have died throughout the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Deborah Ann for reading and taking the time to respond with a very well articulated, honest reply. I really appreciate what you have shared. While there are many people travelling and getting together as families during this season, there are some who don’t have that. Having friends, loved ones and family no longer around due to passing away can be so difficult this time of year. I can see your need to be at work during Christmas and New Year. Christmas really has gotten so commercialised.

      Then of course as you mention there are the essential services. Those workers who faithfully work their shifts to keep everything moving smoothly. There is a fair bit of snow in the forecast for this part of Canada, and the snowplough operators will be out working, so the travellers can get to their destinations.

      I am hoping there will be some person or some thing happen that will make your day very special during this season Deborah Ann. Once again thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate your insight on Christmas. God bless! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not to worry. The extra money in my paycheck is my reward. I don’t attach any significance to December 25th. It’s just another day to come and go. I just want Christmas to be over and life to go back to normal. Too much holiday insanity. At least my museum workplace will be quiet.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely post Carl and one I wish I had read earlier. I’m afraid I ended up doing did exactly what I didn’t want to this Christmas and that was pushing Jesus aside so I could “get things done” in time for the 25th. On top of that I caught a nasty cold and so really didn’t take any extra time contemplating the birth of our Savior and the significance of the moment outside of the the gifts, food, hosting parties, etc….

    Oh, well, I did have a nice time with family and hope to do better next year in not getting so caught up in the non essentials. Merry Christmas Carl and Happy 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you for sharing such an honest comment. It is so hard to keep the focus with so much seasonal activities clamouring for our attention. Sincerely hope you feel better soon from your cold. Up in Canada, where people are often cooped up indoors during the winter months it is extremely difficult to avoid colds.

      God bless you Tricia in 2018. Your comments always bring so much encouragement! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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