The streets are busy, the malls are full, and everyone's making plans. The most common question you hear this season is: "Are you ready for Christmas?"
How do we respond? Are we truly ready for Christmas?
Dictionary.com (Unabridged) defines Christmas as "the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25."
The American Heritage Dictionary defines Christmas as "A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus; December 25, the day on which this feast is celebrated."
The Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary (Beta Version) defines Christmas as "a Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus; a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ."
American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition defines Christmas as "a festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, traditionally celebrated on December 25 by most Western Christian churches. Although dating to probably as early as a.d. 200, the feast of Christmas did not become widespread until the Middle Ages."
The simple question, "Are you ready for Christmas" is an open door to share the good news of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It may not be "politically correct" but it certainly is spiritually pertinent—not to some, not only to Christians, but to all mankind.
How ready are we to celebrate the birth of Jesus? How would Jesus have us celebrate His birth?
We all know the commercialism of Christmas has gotten way out of hand. People nearly bankrupt themselves each year in order to provide gifts and host parties and such during the Christmas season. But is that what Jesus really wants? It seems to me when we celebrate someone's birthday, we should be designing the celebration to please the One whose birthday we celebrate. What would be the best gift we could possibly give Him?
There's a song I remember from my childhood that seems to answer this question in a simple way:
What Can I Give Him?
By Christina Rossetti
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part,
But, what can I give Him?
Give Him my Heart.
The essence of this simple song captures the heart of Christ, not only at Christmas but throughout the year. If we are to celebrate His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection, let's give Him what He wants most – the hearts of all mankind.
So, next time someone asks you, "Are you ready for Christmas?" go ahead and share with them that you have already given Him the gift He longs for most. Then, use the opportunity to share the true meaning of Christmas and the one gift that represents the spirit of Christmas—a surrendered heart.
God bless you this Christmas. May your celebration be one that reflects the gift that is most pleasing to the One whose birth we celebrate!