Published December 6, 2018 by SMBC

By Bill Anderson

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ?Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel? (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:22-23

We have all been asked, ?Are you ready for Christmas?? There are two questions there - one is about the ?cultural Christmas? we all take part in and the other about Christmas as celebrating the birth of Jesus. Many of us would respond initially to the ?easy? question about preparations for Christmas as a cultural holiday: Is the tree trimmed? Gifts bought and wrapped? Cards mailed? A 2013 Pew Research survey found that among younger Americans who celebrate Christmas, 43% see it only as a cultural holiday, not a religious holiday. Among seniors and baby boomers, about one quarter do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

If we believe Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the question is still relevant: Are you ready for Christmas? Advent is the season of reflection, anticipation, and preparation to commemorate the birth of Christ. Each of these activities should begin with prayer - prayer for an open heart, for guidance from God, and gratitude for the incredible grace God has shown to us. These prayers should be constant in our lives, but as for me, I still need to renew and refresh my awareness of God's blessings; Advent provides the opportunity and motivation for that. May we all be disciplined and faithful in prayer as we prepare for the birth of Jesus.

Gracious God, prepare my heart again to worship the Christ Child as though I were present at the manger. Make fresh in my senses the awe and wonder, and enable me again to know joy, peace, hope, and love. And Father, thank you for the life-enabling gift You have given us in Jesus.

Bill Anderson is a member of the Power and Light Community and sings in the Sanctuary Choir. Bill and Janice originally joined South Main in 1974.