"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father....Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come....So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him." Matthew 24:36, 42, 44 (NIV)
It seems that lately I've spent a lot of time getting ready for one thing or another.
In September, many hours were spent preparing to speak at a women's retreat with one of my favorite churches. Hours in study. Hours in prayer. Even an hour at the nail salon, the hair salon, and sitting on my bathroom floor waiting for my locks to be transformed from dull gray to brownish-black.
In October, another speaking engagement. This one with MOPS, darlin' young Moms of preschoolers. More time preparing a message, praying for hearts to be encouraged, thoughts to be enlightened. More time at the nail salon, hair salon, and on the bathroom floor.
November brought the excitement of school visits and craft fairs and Christmas festivals to market my Christmas book. Ordering books, packing and repacking and repacking the necessary items for fun travels across the state. This time the prayers were for little hearts to hear the true message of Christmas and for safety along the way. Another nail visit...when you're holding up a book to read or having a book signing, it's nice for your nails to shine. Somehow November got too busy for the hair salon and the bathroom floor time with L'Oreal.
It's early December. My list has become lists. The house waits to be cleaned and decorated. There are the gifts...some piled, still in bags on my bedroom floor, others yet to be bought. There's the thrill of upcoming baking day with my girls. Christmas pageants to attend...one of which my class of 5 year olds will memorize 7 verses from Luke 2 in a mere matter of days. More book events!! Exam time for my 11 year old at school. Nail appointment, haircut and color are urgent at this point.
In the middle of all of this busy-ness, I'm challenged to consider what really matters...the preparations that are most important.
Time spent preparing my heart to experience the true meaning of Christmas. To live in thanksgiving for the gift of a Savior. To share that gift with others. To "Be still and know that He is God." Jesus, that baby, is God incarnate. The One who died that we might live. Truly live.
My dear sweet Grandmother is nearing death. Soon that same Jesus will reach out His hand and usher her into His presence. She's prepared. And all of my seasonal preparations won't matter a bit when I'm called to be by her side. Because of love. Love that was birthed even before this earth was formed.
And as Matthew 24 tells us, Jesus, the epitome of Love that conquered death will come again. Only the Father knows the day and the hour.
Are you prepared? Have you shared His love so that others may be prepared?
Lord, thank You for the Babe that was born...our Saviour. Thank You for the promise of His return. Prepare us for Your return. Still our hearts, minds, and bodies to know You and Your love for us. Help us to share that love with others this Christmas.