By the time you read this it will be about one week out from Christmas. To date, I'm not even close to being ready. For the first time in many years, I haven't even put up a Christmas tree. Lazy? disinterested? or just plain wiped out? I don't know. Maybe a combination of all. I have a few presents bagged up and sitting in the living room. I have one package ready for the post office that I will hopefully send on its way to Kentucky today. I have a few cards yet to be addressed. I hear others in the stores gleefully announce they are all set-- no more gifts to buy. Others say they haven't even started shopping. Still others, are moaning and groaning that there is just not enough time.
Then there are the children. Oh my. They are bouncing off the walls with excitement. They've performed their Christmas plays at school and church. They've made their gifts for moms and dads and they are anxious to get the show on the road and begin the discovery of what's to come. But even in all the excitement, many are not even close to ready for Christmas.
Some have not even bought the food for feasting. Cookies are yet to be concocted and parties have not all been held. We can tell this because the bakeries are still pumping out Christmas cookies, cupcakes and confections by the dozens. Folks, we've less than a week before the main event. And I am just not ready.
It reminds me of my newly purchased home that's under renovation. The tear-out has been done. Oh, a few walls still need prepping for paint and a bit more wall-paper needs to be stripped, and though I can see the finished product in my mind, it's just not close to ready. There are still light fixtures to buy, paint colors to select and junk to be cleared to make way for tile and carpet. The kitchen counters are missing and it still looks like a warzone of sorts. The chimney sweep has yet to appear, the ductwork is yet to be cleaned and Autumn leaves are still mounded up in the front yard. I have no Christmas decorations on the door to greet the neighborhood and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and I feel a bit like old Scrooge. "Bah, humbug!"
Yet, deep in my soul is a yearning. A yearning for everything to be just perfect. A desire to see the stars align and the hope of Christmas to come with all his glorified joy and peace for all. I long for the protestors to stop protesting, the evildoers to stop doing evil. I consider all the bad news I read in the paper and watch on the television and I wish I could send a cleanup crew to our world and make it look brand new... like I envision my house will be in a few weeks. Even then, I feel sad.
Perhaps it is the season itself. Perhaps the hustle and bustle and impatience of the world around me is wearing me down. Sometimes I feel like the presents have all been unwrapped and the wrappings are strewn all over the floor of my mind and heart. What is left? I wonder where our country will be in months ahead. I think about bringing my mother-in-law into her new environment and pray we can give her a measure of joy and hope in her latter years. I pray our health stays steady and few surprises await us that we'd want to leave unwrapped beneath the tree. Hope still lives within my heart.
I think that is what Christmas symbolizes. Hope. Jesus came to give hope to all. Amid the chaos of crowded inns, and government oppression, Jesus came. The shepherds came. The wisemen were on their way to worship the King. Heaven opened up and a host of angels rejoiced saying, "Fear not, for unto you a Savior is born...Peace on earth, goodwill to men." May our days be filled with that peace in these last days before we celebrate the birthday of that King. May we get our priorities in order and make room for Him in our hearts even if others say there is no room. God bless you all as you get ready even if you are not even close.