Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ready for Christmas

Not Quite Ready?
The tree is decorated. The lights are twinkling. Even the little snowman who counts down the days to Christmas has taken up residence in his normal spot by the fireplace. With only 11 days to go before Christmas, all but a few of the presents have been purchased. All indications are that we are ready for the holiday.

But, I keep thinking about my Nativity set.

Two years ago, on Thanksgiving weekend, I had one of my brilliant ideas. Our house needed a large nativity scene for our Christmas decorations out front. We always go all out on our lights, but the light up reindeer who eerily moved its head back and forth was starting to seem too gaudy. The candy canes and snowmen were looking tired. Instead of replacing them with more stuff that pointed to the North Pole, I thought it time that our house point folks to true north, Christ.

Like a man on a mission, I dove into the internet, only to find that outdoor nativity sets are a difficult find-- either too cheap to look really nice, or too expensive for my budget. Then it hit me: I could make my own! I had a few weekends before Christmas. Making my own nativity set would be a snap, and I'd be offering the gift of my own talents in glory of the King.

That was two years ago. As those two Christmases came and went, I got a little bit closer to completing my Nativity scene, but I never could get it finished.  Just as I could never quite complete the Nativity scene, I also felt like I'd never really entered into the spiritual aspects of Advent and Christmas either. Sure, I prayed a little extra, but the joy of waiting for Christ's birth on Christmas Day just didn't seem to be complete. 

Ready Now

The drawing I sketched out on my iPad (top) two years ago didn't actually become a reality until this evening, when I finally finished the Nativity set and placed it in front of my house (above). Granted, I didn't work on it at all from January to mid-November over the last two years, but there was something inside me that was ready, willing, and able to get it done this year. Something that said, "This Christmas won't pass without that Nativity getting finished!"

What's left now is to get my heart in this same place to be ready for Christmas Day.  To be in a place where I can say, "This Advent won't pass without me being ready for Christ's birth!" Funny thing is, even the desire to be fully prepared is increasing my joy and expectation of what Christmas morning will bring-- the birth of Jesus.

Who knew it was that simple?  At least, way more simple than building a Nativity set!

Blessings of Advent and Merry Christmas to you!

Images copyright Joseph A. Ciccoianni 2013