God With Us
By: Kristen L. McNulty
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Recently my brother Trevor and sister in law Hannah were expecting their first child. As soon as they told me the news I was on cloud nine and I wasn't alone- the entire family started to change as the delivery date for this little one approached.
People who normally wouldn't be found anywhere near the baby aisles in stores were coming home with things they picked up for the new baby. Debates were breaking out about whether this would be a boy or a girl. Baby showers were being planned and thrown. As the due date approached I even found myself carrying my cell phone, which I usually leave off, just in case my sister in law might go into labour when I wasn't at home or near a phone. There's a certain level of anticipation that surrounds the coming of a new arrival in a family.
This month we take a time out from our regular routines in order to celebrate the arrival of a baby who came to our earth over 2000 years ago. But this year as I've been waiting for the arrival of a baby in our family, I couldn't help but notice that there's often something missing in my life when it comes to celebrating the arrival of Christ the King. And that missing element is the anticipation and preparation.
I'm sure most of us would agree that we spend a great deal of time getting ready for Christmas and many of us anticipate the day, but what is it really that we are really preparing for and anticipating? Is it giving gifts to our loved ones? Spending time with family? Having time off from work?
In the midst of all the preparations and hustle and bustle, it's very easy to miss out on exactly what this is all about and knowing what it's about should change the way we celebrate.
When parents are getting ready to welcome a baby into their family, the closer they get to the due date they have to decide what's important and what's not when it comes to their time and attention. They shift outside responsibilities away from themselves so that they are free to focus and prepare for the baby. Think about it- how often do you see soon to be parents undertaking a huge project at work or starting renovations on a house? No a soon to be parent is more focused on things like getting the baby's room ready or last minute reading on delivery or caring for a baby.
In the same way it would do all of us justice if we too stopped and examined what it is we are filling our time, energy and focus with as the days are quickly counting down before we celebrate the arrival of Christ. Are you so busy with baking that you're neglecting the bible? Are you so focused on presents that you are neglecting praise? Are you so caught up in the rat race that you've forgotten what a gift of grace Jesus really is?
The Christmas season should be a time of family and friends, but not a time when those blessings overshadow Who this whole thing is really all about and that is the baby Jesus. The One who traveled the ultimate distance just to live on this earth and pay the ultimate price for all of our sins. That is the Christmas story, that is our story, and that is something worth preparing for, anticipating and celebrating!
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