Are you ready for Christmas? I’ve heard and even asked that questions many times over the last month.
Getting ready for Christmas means…
- You’ve found all the presents you need to buy
- You’ve wrapped all the presents
- You’ve baked all the cookies – oh and frosted them
- You’ve written and sent out all the Christmas Cards
- All the groceries are bought.
- The house is clean….
Whew getting ready for Christmas is exhausting!
Well, I was thinking, how did Mary and Joseph prepare?
Were they prepared the night Jesus was born?
The story from our scriptures tell us there must have been some timing issues for them.
A census? A long trip to Bethlehem just as the time of the baby’s birth is upon them. I’m sure Mary wasn’t prepared to ride on a donkey through the uneven terrain. She must have been exhausted too when they finally got to Bethlehem. BUT then they are welcomed or should I say unwelcomed by every Innkeeper except one who gave them room in his stable.
Mary must have wondered, I am really going to give birth to the Savior in a stable…with animals? This is not what I had planned at all!
Joseph could not have felt more useless! What could he do? He had to get to Bethlehem to register for this census!
Prepared? Were they prepared for what was about to happen that night?
They had been trying to understand what exactly was happening ever since they each were visited by the Angel. Was this pregnancy truly through the Holy Spirit? Why? Why would God want to use them? How could they prepare to give birth and raise the Son of God?
Ready or not the time had come and Mary gave birth right there in the stable and they laid the baby – Jesus, Immanuel in a manger bed of hay.
Just about the time they are finally getting settled and Mary is trying to rest and Joseph is watching diligently over his wife and baby…Shepherds…dirty, lowly, smelly Shepherds show up and tell them that angels had come and told them of the Savior’s birth here in Bethlehem. They just had to come and see to fully understand.
Could they really? Were the shepherds prepared to see the Savior in a bed of hay?
It didn’t matter! They had come and they saw and they believed and they went from the stable telling everyone who would hear!
Prepared for the Son of God – The Savior of the World to come to earth? Was anyone really prepared?
Putting aside the long to do list….are we ready?
Christmas is not just about being physically ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We are to be prepared in our hearts, souls and minds. When John the Baptist called the people to prepare the way for the Lord he was quoting Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Prepare the way of the Lord…how do we prepare? As John quoted Isaiah he called people to repentance, forgiveness and baptism. In other words John was saying prepare by making yourself right with the Lord. Repent of your sins, seek forgiveness and be baptized. This is what it means to prepare the way for the Lord. This is what we must do to prepare to meet our Savior.
At Christmas we come not just to celebrate the birth of Jesus but to meet our Savior. Our Savior came in the form of a little baby born in a manger but never the less – He was our Savior from the very beginning. Did you come prepared tonight? Leave your sins behind you, come to the manger and know that through the baby born this night you are forgiven. Come this night to this time of Holy Communion and feel the presence of Jesus Christ.
Ready or not, Jesus is here! Jesus has come to save you, me and all who will believe! The joy of Christmas is meeting our Savior and celebrating His birth!