This weekend I didn’t start law school finals. My life has changed. Yes, I graduated over six months ago, and yes, this should have sank in by now, but this weekend was the first time life felt different. I’m actually experiencing advent. I don’t think I’ve ever put much thought into advent before. I’m always too busy. Life is always most chaotic this time of year. But this morning, I realize I’ve missed it.
It’s so cool to hate Christmas now. To complain about everything it entails and how commercialism has ruined it. Sometimes, even for those of us who secretly love the lights and the festivity, December becomes more about extra items on our to do lists and in our shopping carts than anything else.
Strangely, my bible reading this morning talked about taking time to prepare for the coming Savior, but I’m not in the Christmas Story. I’m in the Easter Story. The people came and laid down cloaks and branches and shouted praises as Jesus came into town. Then Jesus went into the temple and overturned the tables, driving out all who were buying and selling there.
It’s the wrong story, but the right idea. Those people complaining about how Christmas has become one giant commercial? They’re not wrong. The buying and selling isn’t what’s important. But I think preparing is.
For the past three years my life has been run by a giant to do list. Not only was there no time for Christmas, but often there was no time for date nights, no time for friends, no time for the things that fill me up, that are good for my soul. When I finally made time for Jesus, I was exhausted, and empty. It’s hard to find joy in your time with someone when you show up ready for bed.
This weekend I celebrated an anniversary with my husband with a date night in making dinner together, I had a close friend I rarely see come to town and we made Christmas cookies. Yesterday, when we got snowed in, I spent the day in my pjs by the fire, talking to my sister on the phone, spending time with my husband, watching football. This morning when I woke up and opened my bible, my heart was full of things to be grateful for. Things that were there before, but that I don’t always take the time to appreciate.
There is something magical in preparing for Christmas, when we do it the right way. When we take the time for the things and the people that make our hearts full. When we reach out and make someone else’s holiday special. Those things help prepare our hearts for Jesus.