Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Comings and Stirrings

How is the Christmas shopping going? Mom was always pretty organized when I was a kid. Dad? That was a different story.

When I was a kid, Dad always waited until December 24th to go out and buy Mom's Christmas present. He took the day off from work, piled us five boys in the station wagon, and headed downtown to look in the storefront windows and decide what to get for Mom.

For the longest time, I thought Dad was a big procrastinator. He must have hated shopping, and only went out begrudgingly at the last minute because he knew "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." It seemed he had to be against the deadline before he could stir the interest, patience and energy to go out and brave the crowds.

I know better now.

I know Dad had his present for Mom picked out weeks ahead. The only reason he always waited until the 24th was because he and Mom were in cahoots. Each year they bought our family one big present and scheduled it to be delivered on December 24th -- while all of us were downtown with Dad.

One year that plan went slightly awry, however. That year Mom and Dad came rushing in the room, "C'mon on, put on your coats and gloves. It's time to go shopping. Hurry!" They hustled us off into the car, and away we went. Later on I learned the delivery truck had come earlier than expected. Mom asked them to drive around the block while Dad hurried us to the car at the last minute.

Mom and Dad each reached their heavenly home many years ago, but I still smile to think of the care and great effort they took to make our Christmases so special.

During the Sundays leading up to Christmas, the great church prayer (the Collect) begins with the words "Stir up." The first Sunday we asked Jesus Christ to stir up His power and come with all His angels to judge the world, drive out every evil, and bring us home forever.

Sometimes it seems that Day will never come, like He's sitting on His heavenly throne procrastinating, delaying until the last possible moment. But God has it all planned out. He's waiting for just the right time -- His time -- to rise from His throne and come down to judge us, save us from sin and death, and bring us to live with Him forever.

But then, we need to be ready for His coming, so this past week we prayed, "Stir up our hearts to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son." We often procrastinate too. We need Him to remind us of our sin and our need for His salvation so that we can celebrate His birth, life, death and resurrection.

Many generations have come and gone since Jesus made that promise to return in glory, and we have no idea if Jesus will come in our lifetimes or many generations down the road.

But we can ask God to make us ready in either event, and we pray our Lord Jesus will find us faithful, watching and ready, whether His return or our own death comes first.

Christmas is such a momentous time of the year. How do you honor the Christ's coming while keeping your heart tuned to His pending return? You can tell us by clicking here!

No comments :