I love Christmas so much. It is by far my favorite holiday and my favorite week of the year.
First of all, I love winter, and I love snow, so there’s nothing better than a White Christmas. Sipping hot chocolate in the glow of the lights of the Christmas tree, while a fake fire is playing on the TV and watching the snow fall is perfection.
I love getting time off to go spend quality time with my family. On Christmas Eve eve and Christmas Eve, we’re frantically baking and cooking for our festivities, and that makes for great quality time. People are sneaking off to the back rooms to wrap last minute presents, and everyone else is pretending that they have no clue what’s going on. On Christmas Day, we have nothing else to do except spend time together.
Then we make the pilgrimage out to Ohio for Family Christmas, where everybody who can goes to Grandma’s house. We sit around in a circle, read the Christmas narrative, sing Christmas carols, and pass out gifts. This is preceded and followed by hours of card games and jokes.
Then Miguel and I will go spend time with his side of the family. Bob Evans with his dad and cheesy movies with his mom and sisters.
It’s just the best. All of it.
However, I’ve lately had a love/hate relationship with the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’m happy that I’m thinking through Christmas presents for everyone: trying to come up with the perfect gift that will make them smile. Then I get to wrap those perfect gifts and imagine them opening each one. I love decorating for Christmas and pulling out my Christmas gear: sweaters and socks. I love listening to Christmas music all the time.
But I hate how long it takes for Christmas to actually arrive. I get so impatient once November hits. All I want is Christmas, and I want it now.
I’m slowly realizing that that’s the wrong attitude I need to have. Instead of being impatient and dreading each long day that isn’t Christmas, I need to be spending my time preparing my heart. I need to stop focusing on the fact that Christmas isn’t here yet, and focus instead on Advent. I need to use the Advent season to study the Word, spend time in prayer, and consider what Christ’s descent to earth means for me.
Yesterday I kind of got hit with it at Bible study when people started to share what they do to prepare their hearts for Christmas. As woman after woman shared about her devotional time by herself or with her family, I realized that I was doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sure, I say my prayers in the morning and at night, and I start my day by doing my study in Colossians, but that’s not any different than what I usually do.
Now, even though I’m a little late and we’re almost halfway through Advent, I started my Advent practice. I’m carving out extra time in the morning to work through an Advent devotional book. I’m focusing more on what Christ’s birth means for us now, and I’m putting aside (or trying really hard to put aside) my impatience.
Christmas is coming. It’s going to happen whether I’ve prepared for it or not. How much better will this Christmas be if my heart is ready for the real reason we celebrate Christmas?
Come Lord Jesus.
Image taken from ThoughtCo. “What is the Advent Wreath?”