Are you ready?

The countdown to Christmas is on. Are you ready? We do lots of things to prepare for Christmas, don’t we? We put up the tree. I know for many, it’s been up for weeks. But others wait till at least the start of December. We buy presents for family and friends in readiness for Christmas day. We plan lots of yummy food and special drinks to share. Perhaps we pull out old recipes of Christmas fare that’s been passed down for generations and has become such a tradition that there’d be uproar if it wasn’t on the table for Christmas. We get the house and yard ready, tidying, mowing and decorating.

There’s so much to do to get ready for Christmas. I’m a little tired just thinking about it all! But I wonder if there’s a different question, we could be asking ourselves this Advent. Rather than ‘am I ready for Christmas?’ perhaps the better question is ‘am I ready for the Christ of Christmas?’

John the Baptist spent his life telling others to get ready for Christ (Luke 3). He told them to repent of their sins and prepare their hearts for the coming of our Savior. John travelled through the wilderness of Judea, baptising and shouting, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” When people asked John what they should do to be ready for Jesus, he replied, “If you have two coats, give one of them to the one who has none. If you have food, share it with those who have none.”

John was sent to prepare people for the coming of Jesus. Jesus’ birth is what we remember at Christmas time.  The Bible tells us Jesus will come again. And while we all know when Christmas is, no one knows when Jesus will come again. Not even the angels who announced his birth know (Matthew 24:36-44).

So how can we get ready for the Christ of Christmas? What does that look like? Well, John’s message is for us today too. Let’s come humbly before our God and repent. Let’s receive his grace and mercy and love anew. And be thankful.

And let’s love others. Who can we reach out to this Christmas with the love of Jesus? Who can we bless with an unexpected gift? Who can we invite to church? Who can we simply spend time with, be a listening ear and a caring support?

When we love God and others, we are preparing for Christ’s return. May this verse from 1 Thessalonians be our prayer…

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thess 5:23