“Are you ready for Christmas yet?“
I hear this question all the time and it makes me cringe. Because inevitably the answer is, “Nope, I’m not.”
I am not one who plans ahead what I will cook or craft. I don’t ever have all my presents purchased no later than Black Friday.
To be honest, we don’t even have our tree up yet.
I hope it will happen this weekend, but with the way our schedule looks, who knows?
This can make me start to churn with anxiety if I let it. But this year, something has helped me to let that gnawing insecurity go.
Sometime in November we sat down as a family and made this Advent Popsicle stick craft. Each person in our family got six sticks on which to write our favorite “getting ready for Christmas” activity. Some examples were decorate the house, shop for presents, make chex mix, and read Luke 2. A few of the activities were very date specific like attend Christmas Eve pageant or have Grammy over. A few were kind of silly and random such as play video games and give dogs extra treats (actually I thought it was very kind of the boy-child to throw one in for the dogs).
But the really cool thing about this project is that it had reminded me that we cannot do every single activity on any day. There is no way we could build the outside manger and decorate the tree in one day. In fact the manger took two days all by itself, so the tree just has to wait its turn.
And it has reminded me that some things are better when you wait on them. On my sons day to choose a stick he keeps putting the first choice back saying, “Oh, I want to wait to do this, this will be better later.” So the baking of cookies waits, and that is okay.
But I think the best reminder of the popsticks is that some things don’t have to be done at all. No one wrote down make Gingerbread house or send Christmas cards. So we probably won’t do those things this year.
Because not every single Christmas activity possible has to be done. The ones that mean most to us will do just fine.
And even those activities that we want to do, well we’ve got a whole other 12 days to fit them in. Plenty of time.
Because really, aren’t we always getting ready for Christmas? Not just with our hands, but with our hearts too?
And if these little popsticks create a little more time for the heart work, then all the better.
So, Keep Getting Ready for Christmas. One. Day. At. The. Time.
And if your preparations extend into January or even February, no worries. I don’t think Christ puts those kinds of time limits on our hearts.