In the church year, this month leading up to Christmas is called "Advent." The word itself means "coming" or "arrival." The season is all about being ready, being prepared, for an arrival. Actually, it's being prepared for two arrivals. In Advent we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of God for us in his birth in that little town of Bethlehem all those years ago. We also prepare to welcome him again as our Lord and King when he returns to take us to be with him on the last day - because of all he did for us the first time here. So this Advent, are you ready for Christmas? Our text from Isaiah says to "prepare the way for the Lord," because, Isaiah writes, "the glory of the LORD will be revealed." God wants our Christmas celebrations, and everything we do, to be all about giving him glory. And that fits, because his love for us is certainly worth praising. Just think, giving his son as a Christmas gift to those who were fighting against him.
So, let's make sure that all our preparations do that. Don't let the hustle and bustle of the physical preparations crowd out your own private, quiet time in God's word and prayer - that spiritual preparation. And remember why we're celebrating Christmas when you schedule your days too. Rather than hitting church only if it fits the calendar, make your calendar fit those opportunities for preparation and celebration in God's Word with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Come to church on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. In this season of Christmas, we need that time more than ever. Otherwise, you know the world will help you fill that time, and more and more Christmas becomes about me and us instead of about him.
Let all your celebrations be preparation ... for Jesus, and not just for you, but for your whole family. This Saturday (Dec. 13), you've got a great opportunity to remind your kids what the season is all about. Bring them to Christmas 4 Kids, where the whole day will be, not about Santa and reindeer, but about Jesus - real preparation for Christmas. There the Christmas story will be told in everything, from the story itself to the crafts and the music. We sing "Joy to the World" not because there might be snow on the ground somewhere, but because the Lord has come. We sing "Silent Night, Holy Night" not because the kids went to bed early to be able to get up with Santa, but because of that "round yon virgin, mother and child." Let your Christmas celebrations be all about that too.