In the last few days, most people I have run into have asked something like, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” And most people mean, “Have you gotten all the presents you’re planning to buy?” “Do you know where you’re going to celebrate?” “Do you have the food you need?” Of course none of these is a bad question and I’ve asked each of them myself. But, I wonder if these are the right questions. Am I really ready for Christmas? What would it mean to be ready to celebrate or commemorate the birth of Jesus?
I came across this poem by Mary Oliver and she reminded me of the answer.
Making the House Ready for the Lord
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice — it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances — but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord; you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.
May your Christmas be a day filled with simple whispers — “Come in, Come in.” And may his presence and peace fill your soul, your family, and your home.
Grace and peace,