Are you ready for Christmas?

This Christmas as usual we are busy decorating our homes, buying gifts, giving gifts, and receiving gifts. That is a wonderful thing. The tragedy, however, especially in our global materialistic culture and frenetic busyness is that we can miss what the Lord wants to give us and what he wants us to give to other people this Christmas in honor of his birth. It is so easy to forget that one of the best gifts you can receive from the Lord Jesus is His gift of loving embrace and his gift of repentance and forgiveness of our sins. And one of the best gifts you can give this Christmas is the gift of apology and humility to a person you have offended or the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation to someone who has offended you. After all, isn't the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation one of the central reasons why God sent Jesus into the world? And how can we truly celebrate his birth without accepting his forgiveness and giving forgiveness to others in the spirit of Christmas? Here is a poem by Alice Mortenson on being ready for Christmas.

By Alice Hansche Mortenson

Ready for Christmas, she said with a sigh,
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high,
Then wearily sat for a moment and read,
Till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.

Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
Ready for Christmas? What do you mean?
Ready for Christmas when only last week
You wouldn't acknowledge your friend on the street.

Ready for Christmas, while holding a grudge?
Perhaps you had better let God be the judge,
Why, how can the Christ-child come and abide
In the heart that is selfish and filled with pride?

Ready for Christmas when only today
A beggar lad came and you turned him away
Without even a smile to show that you cared?
The little he asked it could have been spared.

Ready for Christmas? You have worked, it is true,
But just doing the things that you wanted to do.
Ready for Christmas? Your circles too small
Why, you are not ready for Christmas at all!

She awoke with a start and a cry of despair,
There's so little time and I've still to prepare.
O Father, forgive me, I see what You mean,
To be ready means more than a house swept clean.

Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree,
It's the heart swept clean that He wants to see;
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin
Ready for Christmas and ready for HIM.