Advent Word of the Day - Prepare

Dec. 4 - Word for the Day - Prepare

This is my annual “Here I am one week after Thanksgiving, I just took down the Halloween towels in the bathroom, and it looks like Christmas just threw up all over my house” picture. I say annual because through the wonders of Facebook memories I have been reminded that this is the state of my home every year around this time and every year I wonder why I don’t just start the process sooner. Christmas lands on the same day. Why am I not prepared?

I know my “decorate on the day after Halloween friends” would have some useful advice, but I cannot mentally and emotionally decorate for Christmas until after Santa rides in on his sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. The turkey must have her day!

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,” Luke 1:11-14

My husband (a pastor) spoke about this story in church. He talked about how surprised both Zechariah and Elizabeth were when they found out they were going to have a baby (and now that I am of a certain age, I understand their disbelief on a whole different level). Not only were they having a baby, their baby would grow up to make a way for the Messiah. They were not prepared.

So God gave them a gift. To Zechariah God removed his voice until the baby was born and to Elizabeth God honored her time of seclusion. At first, this doesn’t sound like a gift, it sounds like a punishment for not believing, but gifts are often best opened in hindsight.

This year our Christmas tree came from Menards. We have been hunting for the perfect tree at tree farms since before our kids were born. At first I was disappointed, but in hindsight I see that instead of traipsing around in the mud looking for a tree to kill, I was playing games and watching holiday movies with my family. I went shopping at local stores with my parents. My husband participated in the Great River Road run which he has wanted to do for years. I had a game night with the teens at the library and we had a great interactive movie night at the church. I was presented with the gift of new experiences and memories over the Thanksgiving weekend instead of meeting the self-inflicted expectations of decorating the house before the start of Advent.

When you think about it, the whole Christmas story is one of not being prepared. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds – none of them were prepared for what was to come. Each year I find myself unprepared, not just unprepared for the trappings of the holiday, but unprepared for the miracle.

I am ready to be unready. Let the experience begin.


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