Many of us arrive at Christmas tired, running, distracted, and already fatigued with the lights, songs, and celebrations of Christmas. The weeks leading up to Christmas are meant to be a time of preparation for Christmas; but for many of us it is not exactly a time for the kind of preparation that enables Christ to be born more deeply in our lives. Instead, our preparation for Christmas is mostly a time of making ready to celebrate with our families, friends, and colleagues. The days leading up to Christmas are rarely serene. Instead we find ourselves harried and hurried putting up decorations, shopping for gifts, sending out cards, preparing food, and attending Christmas socials. Moreover, when Christmas arrives, we are already tired of Christmas carols, having heard them already, non-stop, for weeks down at the Kwinana Market, McDonalds, and on the radio.
Christmas, therefore, generally finds us more in a pressured and tired space than in a leisured and rested one. Indeed, sometimes the Christmas season is more an endurance test than a time of genuine enjoyment. Moreover and more seriously, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that in our preparations for Christmas, we, in fact, make very little space for the spiritual, for Christ to be born more deeply in our lives. Our time of preparation is generally more of a time to prepare our houses, than a time to prepare our hearts, more of a time of shopping than a time of prayer, and more of a time of feasting rather than focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, many of us struggle to do all the things we need to do to be ready. We need to shop for gifts, send out cards, put up lights and decorations, plan menus, buy food, attend a goodly number of Christmas socials at work, at church, at friends’ houses. This, added on to the normal pressures within our lives, not infrequently leaves us with the feeling: I’m not going to make it! I won’t be ready! I won’t be ready for Christmas! That’s a common feeling.
But being ready for Christmas, getting everything we need to do done on time, making it, does not depend upon getting everything neatly checked off on our to-do list: gifts done; cards done; decorations done; food ready; the requisite number of social obligations, completed. Even if that list is only half done, if you find yourself in church at Christmas, if you find yourself at a table with your family on Christmas day, and if you find yourself greeting your neighbours and colleagues with a little more warmth, and you spend some time reflecting on the birth of our Saviour and what that means to you. Congratulations, you’ve made it!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
Mr. Aaron Guppy