“Are you ready?” For me, context almost doesn’t matter: the answer to this question is almost always “no.” Is it time to go already? If there is one thing I wish I could have an excess of, it most certainly wouldn’t be money or fame. No, I just want more time. It seems like I’m always running out of it, running behind, and just barely keeping up. I look at my calendar on a regular basis and wonder with disbelief, “How is it already… time for finals… end of November… the latter half of the decade??” The time just breezes by and I hope to catch a bit of what’s important along the way.
But it didn’t always used to be this way. No, I remember when I was young and time seemed to stand still. When I was in elementary school, I lived in full anticipation of what was next. Each day was a countdown of some sort, part of an elaborate preparation for some celebration or holiday. I remember how everything all of my surroundings reminded me of what time it was, what was next, and what I should be getting ready for. The halls of every elementary school inundate its students with feeling of the season, every square inch festively decorated.
I think there’s something to that. I think there are many things of our childhood that are tragically lost in adulthood. Sure, making turkeys out of outlines of our hands or snowflakes out of folded up paper may be a little juvenile (is it though…?) but there is something to be said about taking the time to enter into the approaching season. We may have bills to pay, papers to write, rooms to clean, and a whole host of items piling up even while I type, and it may seem overwhelming to take the time to do anything else, but can we really afford not to?
There’s a reason we take the time to celebrate what and how we do. We commemorate the moments in history that have significant meaning to our lives, moments that define us and give us life. I would like to argue that these are not just nice opportunities for a party each year but rather essential to developing us as people, reminding us who we are and who we should be.
If that’s the case, how could we just show up the day of and expect to be able to fully participate in them?
We can’t. The moments that truly matter to us require preparation, preparation of heart, mind, and spirit. We need to be ready—physically, emotionally, and most of all spiritually—for what is to come.
In 31 days, the Solemnity of the Nativity of our Lord will be upon us. In just over a month, we will be celebrating the fact that the second person of the Triune God, Jesus, came to earth to be like us. Yes, God walked among us as one of us. What a powerful occasion. What an immense reality. What an altogether mind-blowingly important event in our own salvation history that shapes everything we do. How could we just show up on December 25 and be ready to celebrate it?
We couldn’t. And luckily, we don’t have to. Next week (yes, not this Sunday) we begin the season of Advent. Four weeks of preparation, waiting, hoping. Four weeks that should be taken seriously. Four weeks that should be entered into and used to transform us. What will you do to prepare?
This week’s vlog asks that very question. It challenges each of us to slow down and let God speak to us in a special way over the course of these few weeks, to let ourselves be ready, for once, for what is about to happen.
What will you do?