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Are you Ready?

It’s about this time that everyone greets you with, “Are you ready for Christmas?” My typical answer is, “Ha…”

But in truth, what does it mean to “get ready for Christmas”? Have you wasted innumerable hours shopping for things? Have you spent your entire paycheck buying toys that will be gathering dust by mid-January? Have you made travel plans to go see people you only visit out of obligation?  What are you “getting ready” for?

I’m not a Scrooge/Grinch by any means. I love Christmas. I love the feeling, the smells, the sounds, the cheer, the emotion behind the true meaning of Christmas. I love being with family and friends, enjoying our time together, fellowshipping, fa la la’ing… I love Christmas! But for me, it’s not about buying stuff and spending a bunch of money i don’t have. It’s about everything else!

My version of “ready” this year includes 2 more Christmas parties (just did one last weekend) and flying to Georgia to spend Christmas with my family. That’s plenty for me. I stopped dealing with gifts years ago. It’s not that i don’t want to give, it’s that i don’t want to buy. I hate the commercialization of Christmas. I’d rather make you something, or come by and help you with something, or be available for you if you need something, than buy you something. If that makes me look cheap, well so be it. And i don’t expect anything either. If you choose to buy something for me, i appreciate it, but i don’t expect. 

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine who was not raised Christian. He had no particular feelings about Christmas because his folks dashed the Santa story when he was little, so it was just another day to him. So i shared the Christmas story with him and explained why we do the things we do around the holidays. He then asked a very pointed question, “Why only this time of year though?” That’s one of those issues i’ve continually had.  Love, charity and peace should be year-round practices.  Are people not hungry in April? Do children not want gifts for birthdays that aren’t in December? Are soup kitchens only open Nov. 20 – Dec. 26? 

So here’s my challenge to you: What holiday cheer are you going to spread year round? What are you going to do to help someone less fortunate after the holidays are over?  What is the time, talent or treasure you possess to do Kingdom work in all seasons? Are you ready to be of service to someone else?  Are you ready?

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