|Posted on November 4, 2019 at 8:10 AM|
Are you preparing for the right thing?
My calendar just reminded me – there is just a little over seven weeks until Christmas! I often dread this time of year. My days fill up with things that need to be done to prepare for family celebrations and out-of-town visits. I get caught up in cleaning, buying, baking, wrapping, writing cards and mailing gifts. I always hope everything will be perfect, everything will be done on time, and everyone will be happy with the results. Yet while some people are all ready for Christmas before the trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell, I seldom am ready until sometime late in December, and hopefully before the 24th!
I believe it is important to prepare for holidays and visits with family and friends. Good preparations help things go smoothly and results in less stress. And it’s good when things turn out well and people are happy. So I plunge into the preparation bustle. I prepare the places that will be involved in my celebration (like my home), and I work on the things that will be involved (food, gifts, card and the like). But I often neglect preparing something else – something which may not be on my to-do list but which may be even more important than the things on that list.
What I often forget to prepare is my heart and soul.
When one of my Christmas goals is to bake a flawless pecan pie and roast a succulent turkey to feed my guests, I might forget that I also need to feed my soul with daily prayer and the Word of God. When another goal is to have a squeaky-clean home, I may be forgetting about cleansing my heart of my sins. And when a goal is to show off the most exquisitely decorated tree or give equal and expensive presents to all, I could be forgetting about heartfelt charity toward others less fortunate than me who cannot afford a tree or gifts at all.
I need to sit back and think about WHY I celebrate Christmas. Although the family get-togethers are wonderful and necessary, what’s more important is celebrating Christ’s birth and enhancing my relationship with Him.
I don’t think God cares about whether my turkey is moist or dry. I don’t think it matters whether there is a cobweb in the corner of my ceiling or dust bunnies frolicking under my bed. And I don’t think it matters to Him whether I forgot to send a card or gift to someone.
What I think God DOES care about is whether my faith and prayer life is moist and full. I believe it’s important that my heart is cleaned of the cobwebs of sin and I spend time with God. And I think it matters that I think about others and help them to live good and fruitful lives.
So maybe my goals should be different this year. Perhaps a goal should be to have more frequent but less fancy get-togethers with family and friends. Maybe another goal should be to donate more to those who need help. And it certainly couldn’t hurt to go to confession and spend more time conversing directly with God through prayer!
What are you doing to prepare for Christmas? This week I encourage you to think about your preparations – are they the ones that really matter? Perhaps you could make even just one small change in how you prepare this year, to really focus on WHY you celebrate this holiday. Blessings might just be waiting for you!
Have a blessed Monday!