by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, December 2013

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Are you prepared for the holiday season? The Hanging of the Green always sneaks up on me like an annual surprise, even though it happens every year. I love the season, but I find myself trying to do everything at once with all of the shopping, parties, and decorations. By the time I climb back into the attic, after the big day has passed, to return the garland and bows to their proper places...well, let’s just say I am not the happiest little elf.

I am thankful that there are others who find great joy in these moments of preparation for the season. These super shoppers buy their presents all along the way—they know just the right way to turn ordinary garland into something beautiful. They consider their friends and family and how they might best buy for them and they make their home a welcome space for them all.

Maybe theirs is the better way than the mad Christmas dash to the finish.

We need thoughtful times of preparation. We need the season of Advent to teach us something about preparing for Christmas. Maybe we can learn from these well-prepared shoppers something about what it means to be Christ’s people during this season, as well.

Ask yourself, how have you spiritually prepared to celebrate Christmas? How do you continually receive the gift of Jesus throughout the year? If you prepare to welcome Christ into your home this year, then God can show you how your life can be transformed into something beautiful.

This year, slow down and wonder about how to bless your friends and family with more than a gift. Consider how to bless them with the presence of Christ born into our midst.