Making Preparations for Christmas

The tree is up, and the lights are finally on the outside of the house. Housekeeper has come! Menu is being prepared for Christmas Dinner. Shopping is almost done. Christmas cards are, well, in process let’s say. Travel plans are coming together – whose going where when.
This is what it means to make preparations for Christmas. Or is it? Certainly Mary and Joseph would have been doing similar things in the days leading up to the birth. They would have been making their living quarters (a lean-to shed or cave most likely) as comfortable as possible in preparation for their baby. They would have made a list of who needed to be contacted after the baby was born, and how they’d get word back. They probably wanted to go to the market to buy something for the baby, but that was an extravagance they couldn’t afford.
More importantly though, I imagine that they both were, as the scriptures say, “pondering these things in their hearts.”
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2)
Remember, Mary and Joseph had already been visited by angels themselves. They’d rehearsed all the Messianic prophecies, they’d journeyed past Shechem and Jerusalem and other sites of religious and historical import. Their experience was pregnant with meaning. So no doubt they’d been “treasuring all these things and pondering them in their hearts” for some time.
And this is what, I suggest, it means for us to prepare for Christmas. Return to the stories – both the Gospel accounts in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2, as well as the Messianic texts like Isaiah 9 & 11 and Micah 5. Read them, treasure them, ponder them in your heart. Give God the luxurious, extravagant gift of your time, time to be quiet, still, and listen to what the Holy Spirit might want to speak in you, to you, through you this Christmas.

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