“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
For my wife and me, this year’s Christmas season has deeper meaning than ever before. We are expecting our first child in June. As we open our Bibles and read of the fear and stress, but also the courage and obedience of Jesus’ young, earthly parents—Mary and Joseph—we can’t help but reflect on our own life’s circumstance.
We are in a season of preparation.
We’ve moved my office and all its belongings down into the basement to make room for what will be baby’s new nursery. We’ve got a stroller in our living room waiting for its new occupant. There are suddenly onesie pajamas all over our house. We’re signed up for all our prenatal parenting classes. We’re reading books, making lists, and crunching budget numbers. We are ensuring everything is ready for this child we will treasure, teach, train and, many years from now, turn loose to live for Jesus in our fallen world.
We are in a season of preparation.
But preparation isn’t just for expecting parents like us. Truth be told, we are all in preparation mode, all the time.
If we closely examine our day-to-day living, we’ll find we are all preparing for something every single day. We are all hoping for something, looking forward to something, putting our faith in something, living for something. We just may not realize it.
Every choice we make says a lot about what we are preparing for. Every event on our calendar says a lot about what we are living for. Every conversation we have—or don’t have—says a lot about what we are hoping for.
If we step back and honestly reflect on our daily thoughts, words, and actions, and what they indicate we are preparing for—I think we’ll find most of our preparation tends to be:
Our willingness to sacrifice for others, put in long hours, or go the extra mile is secretly rooted in a self-centered motive—preparing for the next promotion, recognition, achievement or bonus. We will do whatever it takes…as long as it benefits us!
Our minds are constantly filled with the thought, “If I can just get __________, then everything will be okay.” Then the long awaited day comes—after all our preparation, planning, and pursuit, we finally get ___________— only to find ourselves unsatisfied and on to preparing for the next thing. The prize is short-lived, fleeting, and doesn’t fulfill our deepest desires.
Even our most well intentioned plans of preparation fall short and miss the mark. Circumstances beyond our control change, our plans fail, we make mistakes. Even our best preparation is imperfect.
The decisions we make and actions we take each day are all preparing us for something. What are we preparing for?
Rest assured, we can correct the course of our preparation—and what better time to do it than in this sacred Christmas season? The prophet Isaiah implores us to prepare—not for things that are self-serving, short-lived, and substandard—but simply, for a child. To prepare for Jesus Christ—the son of God. The Savior of the world. To get ready for the one who is:
The coming Christ child is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He was meek enough for a manger, but mighty enough to save mankind. He is worthy of our love and praise.
This Holy infant is eternally in control of everything in all creation. “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.” He rules the world, and all that is in it, with loving wisdom and faultless authority. Forever.
The reason for the Christmas season, Jesus, has built his Kingdom—in heaven and in willing human hearts—and he is “establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness.” Our unknown future is secure in a known God who loves us dearly and is perfect in every way.
It’s been a busy year. We’ve all been preparing for many things. This Christmas season, let’s slow down and set aside the things we’ve been pursuing that are self-serving, short-lived, and substandard. Let’s cast them down and prepare our hearts to receive a child—Jesus—born that we may have hope, love, and life. Let’s get ready for this praiseworthy, permanent, perfect king! He alone deserves our full preparation!
IT’S YOUR TURN: Add your comments! What are some of the ways you and your family prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus each Christmas?