Preparing for the Christmas Season
Right after Thanksgiving my husband puts the Christmas lights up and I start decorating for my for my forever favorite holiday. I prepare for Christmas spiritually as well as physically through decorations. My favorite way to get into the right spirit for the season is by reading all four gospels. Luke is easy to schedule, It has exactly 24 chapters so I read one chapter a day for the month of December and end right on Christmas eve. Mark is short, it only has 16 chapters so I start that a little later on December 8th. John is also just shy of reaching Christmas eve so I start it on the 3rd of December. Matthew is a little long so I start it on November 27th. I also love to listen to Handel's Messiah. Who doesn't love the song, "For unto us a Son is Given". Literally every time I read that chapter in Isaiah I am singing it either in my head or out loud. And who doesn't feel their heart swell with exultant joy when they hear the final victorious chorus of "Hallelujah".
"Fooor the Lord God omnipotent reiiiiigneth!"
Oops was I singing out loud again. See it's just so good!
More than anything, I try to prepare my heart to receive Christ. John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin was sent to prepare the people before Jesus started his ministry. Isiah predicted of John the Baptist preparing the people. In Isaiah 40:3-4 it says, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it." I ponder this verse in the days leading up to Christmas. How can I make my paths straight? How have my paths been crooked? How can I prepare my heart for the coming of my Lord? John the Baptist offered people baptism to become cleansed from sin so their path could be straight. I was baptized a long time ago, but I can still reflect upon that holy covenant and recommit to being clean from sin and living a clean life committed to Christ.
Each Christmas is a time to remember that Jesus, the Son of God, came veiled in flesh. He dwelled among us as Emmanuel, God with us. It is a time where we can invite Christ into our hearts to rule and reign.
I invite you to ponder Isaiah 40:3-4. Ponder with me how we can make our paths straight? How can we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord? How can we remember our baptismal covenants? How can we recommit to living a clean life dedicated to our Lord?