"Are you ready for Christmas?" everyone is asking this time of year.
How am I supposed to answer that? What do they mean? Does being ready for Christmas mean all the baking, decorating, mail, and shopping is done? That I have given to a charitable cause so a poor child or family can "have Christmas"? (There are certainly plenty of appeals going out for that kind of thing at this time of year.) That I have taken time to meditate and prepare my heart to worship and adore Christ the Lord?
Yes, my baking, decorating, and shopping is all done. The women in our family got together the day after Thanksgiving to bake cookies. As usual, I wound up with enough to last into next year. The radio station begins playing Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving but I refuse to do any decorating before December 1. And then I begin with the nativity scene, add a few candles, snowmen, etc. but no tree or anything elaborate.
My Christmas mail was sent out the first week of December and I finished shopping then too. I did most of it online this year and think I will do that again. I will gladly pay the shipping charges to spare my feet and back the wear and tear of walking, elbowing crowds, and the frustration of not being able to find what I want. Online shopping was much easier and faster.
I haven't actually given to a charitable cause yet but we have chosen the recipient of the offering which will be taken at our family dinner on Christmas Day. We consider it our birthday present to Jesus. The offering box sets at the head of the buffet table so Jesus gets His gift before we distribute our gifts to each other. Should He not have the best and largest gift?
Our church has a special service on Good Friday, Ascension, and Thanksgiving, but for some unknown reason we have never had a service on Christmas. There is a variety of Christmas programs in the area to choose from and this year we went to hear the Lancaster Chorale in November. The first half of the program was on a Thanksgiving theme but ended with Christmas music. I was moved to tears by some of the music and it was a time of true praise and worship.
I was "ready for Christmas" early this year and it is not a frantic scramble to get everything done. That gives me time to enjoy the season and meditate on the meaning of the Incarnation.
What does the word "incarnation" mean? Carne is a Latin word that means flesh or meat. Chile con Carne is chili with meat. Incarnation is the word we use for the doctrine that the second person of the Trinity assumed a human form in the person of Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is "God in flesh."
Jesus needed a mother to be born as a human being and have the blood that was required to be a sacrifice for sin. But his Father was the spirit of God, not a human being. If Jesus had been born of two human parents he would have had the same sinful nature as the rest of us and been unable to save us. He was both God and man, the only perfect and complete sacrifice able to atone for the sins of all men past, present, and future.
The birth of Christ was the pivotal point in the history of the world, so important that the calendar is dated BC or AD by his birth. Every time anyone writes the date, believer or unbeliever, he is testifying that Jesus was born 2015 years ago.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing!