Are you ready for Christmas?
I expect you have been asked this question many times already recently! You may have even asked it yourself. I wonder if, like me, you find it a bit of a bleak reminder of how much remains on your to-do list. Even without the usual Christmas festivities happening, there are still plenty of things to do, buy, wrap, post, arrange, sort out and clean. And that is all without the ever-changing landscape of what we can and can’t do over Christmas. How can we ever be ready with these constantly changing goal posts?!?
I realised some time ago, in my working-mum, now studying life – that actually – the jobs will never all be done. This is quite a tough pill to swallow as a perfectionist. I had always had such a sense of satisfaction and achievement crossing that last thing off the list and then – only then – allowing myself to relax. This was unsurprisingly a fast track to burnout. No matter how hard I worked, the work kept coming in. Like that washing basket that is never empty, as soon as I had finished cleaning up after one meal, the children needed feeding again! For every email I replied to, another three would come. We go round and round, and if we aren’t careful, we can get really dizzy and lose sight of what our real purpose it.
We don’t have to do all the things before we are ready to receive Jesus. Being a Christian means laying down our lives and following him. This doesn’t mean we shirk our responsibilities, in fact, many of them are given to us by God, but we are not slaves to them. Our value and worth does not come from how much we have crossed off our to-do lists, and we are not shamed because there is still more work to do. We are actually commanded to rest (on the 7th day) not when we have finished our tasks, but when it is the set time. We do not have to earn rest, we are given it as a gift.
So if anyone asks me if I am ready for Christmas, I am going to answer, ‘yes’. Firm in the knowledge of a thousand things I would like to get done before then, and equally firm in the knowledge that I will only ever do about half of them. I am ready not because I have done my jobs, but because I am ready to receive Jesus. I am willing, I am open, I am hungry for more. I am ready to receive Jesus through nothing I have done, but by his grace.
So with a little smile to myself I will gladly answer, ‘yes!’ Because I know in my heart that I am ready for him. Can I challenge you to respond in the same way?