“Are you ready for Christmas?”
It’s a common question from friend and stranger alike in these weeks before Christmas arrives. I realize that folks are asking about the activities so associated with Christmas season — shopping, decorating, attending or scheduling Christmas parties and events, tree trimming, online ordering, mailing, wrapping or “gift bagging,” menu planning, baking, sermonizing (for us preachers), or an “earthly host” of other seasonal preparations.
In my reading and preaching in Luke during this Advent season, I find Luke highlighting three crucial activities associated with our Lord’s birth:
- Pondering in one’s heart (Luke 1:29, 1:66, 2:19, 2:51)
- Singing praises (Luke 1:46-55, The “Magnificat,” sung by Mary; Luke 1:67-79, the “Benedictus,” sung by Zechariah; Luke 2:14, the heavenly host’s Gloria; Luke 2:29-32, the “Nunc dimittis,” sung by Simeon)
- Expecting the fulfillment of God’s promises (Luke 1:13-17, 1:30-33, 1:41-45, 1:67-79, 2:10-12, 2:25-35, 2:36-38)
Are we ready for Christmas? Listening to Luke, my Christmas readiness becomes a matter of pondering Gods’ word and work in Jesus. My Christmas readiness requires a soundtrack of praise and rejoicing in Immanuel. Are we expectant, watching for and awaiting Christ’s advent here and now? Amid all the holiday hoopla and excess, do I expect a holy message?
Yes, I have my own Christmas “to do” list, but I believe I will miss Christmas entirely if I do not put pondering, praising, and expecting at the top of my Christmas list. And when we have packed up the Christmas decorations, returned the gifts that did not fit, put away any leftovers, and wrapped up the holy season of Christmas, may our faithful pondering, singing, and expecting our Lord’s advent continue.