"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again..." John 14:3 (NIV)
I was out in the mall this evening, trying to finish up the last of my Christmas shopping. Someone I know from work came up to me and had to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. I was zoned out and her face was furrowed with concern. "You look like you need to leave the mall - now." I had to laugh. Exhausted, and feeling nearly brain-dead at that moment, I could just imagine how I looked!
I didn't quite take her advice, but I did limp over to the food court where my equally lame husband, who is waiting for surgery to repair a painful hernia sat waiting for me. We had supper together, did another hour of shopping and then called it quits - for the season.
Besides shopping today for I-don't-know-how-many-people-on-my-list (I'm afraid to count them all!), this morning I did a last second edit of our church newsletter and took it to the printer's. I managed to fit that in between shopping and taking our two little grandaughters to see a live broadcast of The Nutcracker by The National Ballet on the big screen. After seeing the girls off with their mom, picking up the printing, and doing the shopping, we managed to get all the gifts to my daughter's house, where our wrapping paper and scotch tape happens to be, :o) , unloaded, wrapped, and then loaded back into the car for distribution to the various places they are destined for. Whew!
I kind of wish that was it - that I could say, "I'm now ready for Christmas", but I'm not. Not even close. There are a thousand things to do yet between home, and church, family and friends, and work. I'm doing my best to remember which balls are the glass ones and not to let those drop. So far, so good. But there sure are a lot of rubber ones flying around. :o) (See Belinda's post from Dec 6 - "Christmas and falling angels")
I've been thinking alot, in and around all of this activity (and I haven't shared the half of it!) about how Christmas is coming, whether I'm ready or not. In fact, I've been reminded of that by a number of different people in the last few days. Instead of increasing the pressure, I find that thought actually calming and a sense of wonder and anticipation growing in my heart.
Christmas is coming. It's going to happen. Whatever I do or don't do to be ready, one day I'm going to wake up and "suddenly", to quote Belinda, "Christmas will be here". Advent, the time of preparation for our celebration of the coming of the Saviour will be over, and Christmas will have arrived. In the midst of all the preparation, the days and the hours march forward and "the fullness of time" eventually comes. There is great joy in that. I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love the anticipation, the preparations. I love the giving that is in honour of the greatest Gift ever given. I love the stillness in the deepest places of my heart that knows what all this preparation is for - and ultimately Who it is for. I love the imagery; I love the symbolism. I love that at some point the preparations must stop, the things undone remain undone, because Christmas no longer is coming; it's here.
I'm remembering, as I prepare for this Christmas season, as crazy as it all feels sometimes even as I'm trudging through the mall, that Jesus promised he would come again. This time in the clouds and with great glory. We are living out our days in the Advent of that great Second Coming. And whether or not we are ready, the preparations will cease, and He will come!
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17 (NIV)
Whether or not I'm completely ready, he will be. And just like this Christmas, that's good enough for me.