Prepare during Advent

sharing a meal

Preparing ourselves is one way of awaiting what returns to us this during this season. We must open our minds and hearts to receive that which is stolen from us throughout the year.

We are continuously bombarded by just about everything negative over the course of our 21st century year, so much so that as Christmas approaches, we add the duties we feel are pressures to us to prepare for the great coming day. In a word, we are exhausted from all the preparations that we do to have a successful Christmas.

It would be phenomenal if we would take this time to step back, step back from all that tears us from what truly matters. My wife and I contracted to have our kitchen refinished. We began planning this project in September with the idea that we would have a completely new kitchen to show off during the holiday season. Watch is that old maxim? God loves it when we plan ahead, or make plans for the future. We are 14 days from Christmas day, and word has it that our new counter tops will not be ready until sometime in January. Disappointing? Yes, but not destructive for the upcoming Christmas day.

When looking at what truly matters, not having finished countertops doesn’t come anyway near what truly matters. This Christmas day, this December 25th, 2017 is going to be beyond question a God-given gift for the Carter family. For the first time in several years, our son will be with us on this blessed day. He works for the government, and with his specialty, he is deployed once a year to the Middle East. For the last several years, he has been out of the country from November through February. He does this to allow those with families, who work with him, can be with their families at Christmas. This year, he will be with us. This is, second to none, the most joyful Christmas present that anyone can give Linda and me.

What will make this Christmas great is our family being together again for the holidays. We do not have to go buy anything, nor do we have to prepare anything special for this, absolutely, one of the greatest gifts a parent can receive. We have prayed for this, and this year it will happen. We didn’t do anything special to receive this gift, except wait in Love, praying for the best.

This is a little like what Christmas should be . . . always. I would like to take this family promise and extend it to a much broader, a much more important, yet much less demanding situation. As we prepare for this Christmas, let us step back from our daily man-made pressures and rejoice in what is rapidly approaching. The renewal of the Christmas story is a beautiful annual treasure for us . . . if we open our hearts and minds to what is truly important.

God gives us every gift we receive; we do not have to ask for it. If it is important, we receive it from God, because he Loves us. As our son is our child, we are children of God. We rejoice when our love for our children is returned in kind. We glory over how well our children have matured into responsible adults with families of their own. In our case, our son’s family, at least one that is very important to him, is those family men and women who work with him. He gives freely of his love for his family, just as we do for our family.

This is exactly what God does and feels for us. His gifts come freely, because He loves us; because She Loves.

As we prepare during this season of Advent, can step away from our everyday self-inflicted tensions to realize that we have already received the greatest gift of all, and this greatest story ever told as repeated to us during Advent? I pray that my friends near and far, my friends whom I cherish,  and those I have yet to meet, will all take the time to open our hearts and our minds to the gift that genuinely matters . . . and share this gift with all.

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