One week until Advent, the season of Messianic anticipation. A time to reflect, repent, and prepare. A time to invite Christ to give birth to hope, peace, joy, and love in our hearts.
Also a time to decorate our Christmas tree. A time to put up lights and ignite candles to pierce the darkness of the shortened days. A time to give gifts to and receive gifts from family and friends.
And for all of us, a time of loss revisited, of missing loved ones no longer with us. A time for some of loneliness. A time of both celebration and melancholy, of laughter and longing. A time for favourite Christmas movies. A time for indulging ourselves and for giving to the needy.
But I’m not ready. Not ready for Christmas hymns and carols. Not ready for decorating. Not ready for Advent candles and devotions. Not ready for the particular busyness of this season.
I never feel ready. I always feel behind, as if each year Advent and Christmas take me by surprise. As if there aren’t calendars in my home that clearly mark the date.
But Advent is about preparation, and acknowledges our lack of readiness. My lack of readiness. It will arrive no matter how ready I feel. And for this reason I pray:
“Lord, ready my heart. Grant that I would be open to the moving of Your presence during Advent. Help me to receive You. Help me to know you as my Emmanuel, as God with us. Amen.”