I have a sort of checklist for Christmas, particularly Christmas eve. Lisa does most of the decorating however encircling the tree with the Christmas train is my job. It doesn’t even work anymore but it looks nice.
It’s also my job to have mixed nuts in the shell on the counter as early in the season as possible. These are a tradition that made my checklist about 10 years ago. I also like a little hard candy to look at as I really don’t eat much of it. Ribbon candy looks the best and brings back some good memories. A bowl of candy makes me feel ready for the holidays while the bowl of nuts means the cats have something to bat about the kitchen.
Somewhere near the top of my list is that I have our driveway and sidewalk in nice shape. Most years, this means snow removal however the last few years it has been more about removal of ice. It’s really just a way of making sure guests feel welcome so it always has been a list-maker. I don’t feel ready until this task is complete.
Making sure everyone gets something is also makes me feel ready for Christmas. We have one stray outside cat and, at this point, we have at least four spots where she can find shelter. Actually there are more soft, comfortable places for her to nest than not on the farm. The birds and squirrels get their share too, although Clyde the cat has almost eliminated all the red squirrels. Everyone who lives outside gets something for Christmas which makes me feel ready.
To really be ready for Christmas requires no money although it does require time. Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. This little boy would grow up and die for humanities’ sinful ways then rise again in the final defeat of death. This is the celebration of his birthday. If you truly want to be ready for Christmas, then ponder this event. Try to imagine what it must have been like for God to begin a journey for his only son that would end is the crucifixion of Jesus. Try to imagine how vulnerable Mary and Joseph must have felt as they set-aside there own questions of why this miracle was happening to them and simply continued on. Imagine the wonder of the shepherds and ask yourself why angels were sent to these people to tell of the birth of Jesus. (maybe God values those who lead and care for others and gave them this notification as a show of love and respect?) It doesn’t matter if you have answers, it’s the questions that arise from quiet contemplation that will bring you closer to the meaning of Christmas- the answers come later.
My wish for Christmas is the same as always. I wish for you family and friends and productive memory-making. My hopes are that the meaning of Christmas is first in your mind and always in your heart. Merry Christmas.