Preparing for Christmas

Many people, including many of my readers, had their Christmas shopping done even before Thanksgiving, I’m sure. In fact, except for a couple small items, mine was also done. But, you know the shopping we do doesn’t even scratch the surface of what our preparations ought to be.

Recently, a friend told me she was re-reading the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament to refresh herself spiritually with the background, the preparation in heaven and God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ who would come to earth as an infant. Interestingly, I had just begun reading again in its fullness the book of Luke in the New Testament with the same purpose.

It is totally beyond my understanding that our ever-loving God in heaven would send His very own Son, His ONLY Son, to live the human life so He could truly understand our challenges, difficulties, and desires. He understands because He lived our life on earth for about 33 years!

In the book of Luke, I’ve already read the nativity story from the announcement to Mary through the birth of Jesus and the appearance of the shepherds. Of course, I know the story but I just felt the need of a reminder. As I now read of His ministry while on earth, I’m reminded of how great is His love because I see it manifested in His dealings with His disciples, other friends and those He had never met before.

But the story of His birth, even when also considering His years of teaching and ministry, is not complete without the truth of His cruel death on the cross of Calvary, His burial in a borrowed tomb, and His resurrection on the third day.

These are not things we can even begin to understand but we can believe even without understating. Once you believe, just ask this very same Jesus to take up residence in your heart.

At that point, you are ready for Christmas. Your Christmas traditions will take on new meaning.

When we delivered a load of toys to a mission in Kentucky last week, I asked, as usual, how they were doing with toys. “Well, we’ve been doing okay, but what you brought will put us over the top!” That meant that right up until Christmas break in the Opportunity Store, they will have toys available for parents and grandparents to purchase at about a tenth of normal retail price, so there will be gifts on Christmas. The money that was also sent? That’s for those last-minute needs. Again, the amount of money we took from church friends would fulfill what was still needed.

That trip is about my only Christmas tradition anymore, as I have attained the status of “oldest generation.” But knowing Jesus, who came into the world to die for me, is better than any tradition. Knowing Him is my assurance of eternal life in heaven.

Do you know Him? Have you invited Him into your heart and life? If so, you are prepared for a truly Merry Christmas. Without Him, you are lost and just going through the motions.