I’ve never been one to be over prepared, when it comes to Christmas. Usually, you’ll find me late on Christmas Eve wrapping presents for Christmas morning. One year, when my children were small, I was following my usual pace. Everything would get done. It would be finished on time, after all I’d always succeeded. My schedule for Christmas Eve day, was firmly set in my mind on the evening before as I planned out everything that needed to be done. A small banner for the sanctuary at church, packages to wrap and more cookies to bake.
The one item I’d left out of my preparation planning was the fact of being pregnant with a baby due on January 4th. Early Christmas Eve morning I realized that the day would require some significant changes. My son arrived very quickly after that, at home while his siblings were opening their presents. The banner didn’t get made and certain cookies were never baked. Leaving for the hospital, my five year old son announced, “I like all my presents, but I like my baby brother best of all.”
A baby is, after all, what Christmas is about. A baby that doesn’t wait until everything is done or the household is in order. A baby that makes an appearance when ready, not on a predetermined schedule. Bethlehem’s child surprises us with unexpected appearances. In the midst of singing a carol, taking cookies to a neighbor, stuck in traffic listening to the songs of Christmas, or opening a Christmas card from an old friend, Christ touches the heart.
In these days of Advent may you pause in your busyness to remember Jesus and truly rejoice in God’s gift of love, who came not for a few moments in time but for an eternity.