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The Christmas Countdown


Do me a favor – if you have an iPhone, pull it out and say, “Hey, Siri! How many days until Christmas?

Now, depending on her mood, you either got:

  • Directions to the Christmas Tree Shoppes
  • Pictures of Santa
  • Or the right answer – about 60 days!

60 DAYS til Christmas. If I change my oil in my car today, I won’t have to do it again until AFTER Christmas! I don’t need to change the filter on my heater until AFTER Christmas! I shop at Sam’s Club so we won’t need to buy paper plates, meatballs or paper towels until – that’s right – AFTER Christmas!

So we have 60 days to prepare for Christmas. What’s on your to-do list? Buying presents? Decorating the house? Making travel arrangements for visiting family and friends? Granted, all of that can wait for a bit – let’s not neglect sweater weather, football, and PSL’s from Starbucks after all. How about preparing your heart for the birth of a Savior? As the old hymn says, “Have you any room for Jesus?” I don’t know about you, but for too many Christmas’s I saved this for last. Christmas Eve (or Christmas Eve’s Eve) services – that’ll do the trick. That’ll be enough. We’ll sing carols, light a candle and read from the Gospel of Luke. But it’s not enough, is it? This year, I’m starting early and doing something different.

Isaiah 40:31 says, “…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

What a promise! I don’t know about you, but for too many Christmases the only thing I’ve waited for is a flurry of FedEx shipments, the oh-so-slow person to pull out of the first parking spot in the row at the mall and responses on what people are bringing to Christmas dinner – and I’ve reached the 25th weary and faint.

So how do you prepare your heart for Christmas? May I suggest getting a little inspiration from children and focusing on C-H-R-I-S-T:

Celebrate – Kids will make a celebration out of anything. For us, the birth of Jesus means salvation has come to all men – it’s a gift freely given to any open heart that chooses to receive it and that’s worth celebrating! It’s a reason for hope and joy.

Honor – choose to daily honor the Lord with what you speak, how you act, and how you live. Kids have no problem showing others love. Let’s reflect the love that has been poured into us to friends, family, and those we encounter daily.

Reflect and Remember – I know when my children are stalling at bed time. They will thank God for every little thing that pops into their little doe-eyed heads. When is the last time you kneeled down at your bedside and thanked the Lord for your blessings? Not just the big things like health and prosperity but specific blessings – the ones you have to think about, ones that bring us comfort and joy.

InJoy – I have a friend who always says, “InJoy!” – a gentle reminder of what the apostle James says – to count it all joy! Funny, you never have to remind a kid to enjoy (or injoy) anything, do you? So the long lines, failed Pinterest crafts, and lumpy mashed potatoes – I’m going to count it all joy!

Sing – Do you know a child that loves to sing? I’m blessed with one. She will sing anywhere, anytime. Sometimes when her father and I say to her, “That’s enough singing for now.” She’ll reply, “I didn’t even know I was singing!” Singing has so many physical, mental, and emotional benefits, it’s a must while preparing for Christmas. Don’t believe me? Google it!

Thankful – Jesus came into this broken and beat-up world to save it – to save us. He gave up heaven and the choruses of angels to hear Mary sing him a lullaby. He traded a throne for a manger and streets of gold for a life where he had nowhere to lay his head. Why? Because it just wasn’t Heaven without you. Without me.

Mary had 9 months to prepare for the coming of Jesus. So I’ll take the next 2 months and I ask you to do the same. As the kids are back in school and sports practices and games are a regular part of the schedule, let’s make preparing our hearts for the birth of our King a part of the routine, shall we? What if we all approached the holiday a little different this year and went into it with the heart of a child?

-Meredith