Amid the rush of the holiday …

By Patricia Kasten | The Compass | December 14, 2016

... are you ready for Jesus?

How are your Christmas preparations going? It’s only about a week until Christmas, you know.

So was this the year that you promised yourself to get all the shopping done before Thanksgiving? (Or at least by Black Friday?)

Maybe you were decided to make all the gifts you give this year — hand-knitted sweaters, crocheted blankets, hand-painted glassware and wooden bird feeders. And what about the cookies and candies — just like your mother or grandmother made?

OK, so maybe cookies from a cookie walk would work at this point? And you can still get handmade items from a church sale, right? Amazon has plenty of items, and lots of delivery trucks, don’t they? Who cares if you have to pay tons of extra money for shipping and handling at this point, right?

What about the Christmas cards — mustn’t forget Christmas cards. Plenty of time. Not handmade this year, or any calligraphy, of course. (Is a signature enough?)

Don’t worry. You’re doing fine, right? It’s all under control. There’s still plenty of time.

Or will this be you in a week? “What d’ya mean the stores close at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve? Can’t they see this list I have here?!”

We’ve all been there. It’s even a long-standing tradition for many of us.

As I ponder this dilemma each year, sometimes I think about St. Joseph on that first Nativity. I can almost hear him:

“We have plenty of time to get to Bethlehem and then back to Nazareth before the baby is born.”

“There’ll be plenty of room in Bethlehem; after all, they knew lots of people would come for the census. I’m sure there are extra rooms in all sorts of places.”

“OK, well, Bethlehem’s only a few miles from Jerusalem; there’s lots of room there, right?”

“Surely, someone will give a room to a mother giving birth.”

“What do you mean, every inn is full? Can’t you see that this baby is coming? Like now?!”

I mean no disrespect to Joseph; he was a wonderful model of a husband and father. After all, he raised God’s own son. Yet even Joseph had troubles.

The point is that Christmas — the first Christmas — still came. No one was really ready for it. It wasn’t what anyone expected. But it came anyway.

And Christmas will come again this year. Our lists might not be done; the cards might not be written; and the food might be a little different than the spectacular meal we’d planned.

But Christmas comes. Jesus comes. The Light of the World comes.

Not just on Dec. 25, either. But every day.

Jesus comes into our world every day. Right in the midst of the hustle and bustle — and the big plans that never get fulfilled. Amid the broken promises and good intentions gone awry, and the hopes that never quite seem to get filled, Jesus comes.

That’s what we are asked to remember as we approach Christmas each year.

The love of God comes.

The Light of the World comes.

God’s Wisdom, Adonai, the Root of Jesse, the Key of David, the Morning Star, the King of Nations. God With Us — all praised in daily prayer during these last days of Advent — comes.

As the saying goes: “Wise men (and women) seek him still.”

If you do nothing else during this last week, do this: seek him. Forget the plans and the rush, forget all the preparations — just for a minute — and seek Jesus.

Guess what? It works. You’ll find him. Amid the Christmas trees and the carols, the traffic jams and the packages, amid the boxes, bags, ribbons and bows — you will find him.

Jesus comes. He’s waiting, even now. Especially now.



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