Three Decembers ago at this time our entire family was anticipating the arrival of my brother and sister-in-law's first child.
People who normally wouldn't be found anywhere near the baby aisles in stores were coming home with things they picked up for the new baby. Baby showers were being planned and thrown. As the due date approached I even found myself carrying my cell phone, which at the time was very out of character, just in case my sister in law might go into labour when I wasn't at home or near a phone. There's a certain level of anticipation that surrounds the coming of a new arrival in a family.
At this time of year we all take a time out from our regular routines in order to celebrate the arrival of a baby who came to our earth over 2000 years ago. And I believe that if we don't add a similar element of anticipation and preparation into our celebrations we're missing out on something.
When parents are getting ready to welcome a baby into their family and the due date is coming close they have to decide what's important and what's not when it comes to their time and attention. They shift outside responsibilities away from themselves so that they are free to focus and prepare for the baby. Think about it- how often do you see soon to be parents undertaking a huge project at work or starting renovations on a house? No, usually a soon to be parent is more focused on things like getting the baby's room ready or last minute reading on delivery.
In the same way it would do all of us justice if we too stopped and examined what it is we are filling our time, energy and focus with as the days are quickly counting down before we celebrate the arrival of the Christ child.
Are we so busy with baking that we're neglecting the bible?
Are we so focused on presents that we are neglecting praise?
Are we so caught up in the rat race that we've forgotten what a gift of grace Jesus really is?
The Christmas season should be a time of family and friends, but not a time when those blessings overshadow Who this whole thing is really all about and that is the baby Jesus. The One who traveled the ultimate distance just to live on this earth and pay the ultimate price for all of our sins. That is the Christmas story, that is our story, and that is something worth preparing for, anticipating and celebrating!