It is less than one week away. My little tree is up and decorated, two stockings are hanging from the mantle in the living room (one for Sunshine and one for me), my Christmas cards have been mailed, and the few gifts I have bought are wrapped and adorned with store-bought bows.
I guess I am ready.
But, am I really ready for Christmas? I’d like to think that I am, but in reality I am not. The whole idea of Christmas baffles me more and more every year as I see the holiday come and go, watching and waiting for the big day, and then wondering what it is all about. It seems to me that the true meaning of Christmas has gotten lost in manger scenes, songs about angels, shepherds, and wise men, sleighs being pulled by flying reindeer, elves on shelves, Christmas parades, jingle bells, twinkling lights, too many sweets within close reach, and of course, Santa Claus. I read the account of the birth of Jesus in the Bible, and contemplate on how much of it is true, and how much is just a story written to explain to a waiting people that the prophesy of their Messiah had been fulfilled. I find myself examining Christmas with a great big question mark hovering over my head, without coming up with any really good answers.
I think my biggest “I wonder” is whether anyone really truly understands Christmas. We love the music, the lights, the decorations, the feeling of good will which comes from giving to those who are less fortunate than we are, and the overall magic of the season. It is also a day for families to gather together for a festive meal and to exchange gifts. We think about the baby Jesus for a brief moment, and turn our thoughts to Santa Claus, opening presents, and eating too much delicious food. And for those of us who cannot be with our families for Christmas, the day is nostalgic and laden with memories of past Christmases when we were together. It is a happy-sad day as we bask in the warmth of the love of our families and friends, but also miss with aching hearts those who are not with us to share the day.
Christmas is less than a week away. The Christ Child will be asleep in the manger, and Santa Claus will magically circle the globe, leaving gifts for children everywhere. The elf on the shelf will have completed his yearly task, and stores will be gearing up for a day of returning gifts and after-Christmas sales.
And little Miss Jennie will still be wondering – Will I ever be ready for Christmas?