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The art of …preparing for Christmas

The art of preparing for Christmas

A closeup shot of a holly bush with red berries and green leaves.

I am sure you have noticed that the stores have been decorated and are all plumned out for the holidays. Many have complained that it happens earlier every year. BJ’s wholesale club actually had Christmas decorations out in AUGUST. Yes, you read that right… August.

To those of us who hold this as a sacred time this seems to take away some of the specialness of the holiday. For me, Christmas is not just a day to join with my family and friends spoiling them just a bit with gifts and goodies, it is a Holy day.

Advent is a time of prayer and preparation. Christians believe that this is the time of devoted preparation before the birth of our Savior. It is not about the stockings hung by the chimney with care, (although that part is fun too) it is about the anticipation of the Christ Child.

I have often wondered what it must have been like to be any one of the humans who were in attendance at the birth of Christ. Mary’s head must have been swimming, a virgin, unmarried, and without her mother or any other female support system giving birth to the Savoir of the world. Joseph- engaged to an honorable woman, yet she is pregnant and certainly not by him, what trust he must have had. The Wisemen… they left their homes, their safety to worship this infant whom they KNEW was the Savior- the shepherds, the Inn Keepers, even the animals- what a profound event. I wonder if they could have truly understood on any level what was really happening, or the magnitude of it.

These thoughts are with me pretty much every year at this time. I remember my mother asking me once when I was a rather young child what gift I was going to give Jesus.

This question left me perplexed. What did Jesus need? How could I possibly give him anything? How would I wrap it?

These and many more questions puzzled my young brain.

Through the years, Christmas has taken on many meanings. Rich with tradition and full of love; rarely are there years that I don’t learn something or grow in some way. This year, yes, on November fifteenth, before the turkey has even been carved or the Macy’s day parade has been aired – I have learned something.

The greatest gift I will receive this year will be the adoption of three wonderful families. (Of course I will appreciate anything I receive from my family and friends- however their true gift to me is their presence in my every day life.)These families NEED. I just want. They offer ME the opportunity to give something that will actually make a difference, and they remind me of just how much I have to be thankful for.

For me- these families represent the Christ child. My childhood frustrations are calmed as I am able to actively do something for someone else. It is clear to me that this is yet another bit of proof that we are all in this together.

Before you think I too- am jumping the gun- suggesting we prepare for Christmas before we celebrate all we have to be grateful for, I will remind you that this is ALL about the gratitude- Adopting these families is an opportunity for ACTIVE gratitude-

Open your heart, just a little to someone else- it is the greatest gift you can give YOURSELF. It doesn’t take very much- a few dollars in a red kettle, adopting a family in need, volunteering at a shelter. There are countless opportunities to be kind to your fellow man. Do it, I dare you…

In gratitude & in peace