"Hey mom... why do all those houses have their Christmas lights up already?"
"Ummm... because Christmas is in three weeks."
Did Christmas sneak up on anyone else this year? Last year it seems like I had everything ready to go when the clock struck midnight on November 30. Advent calendars were up (one for each kid), the tree was ready for decorating, gifts were bought, and I had snagged one of the fabulous advent stories from the library early (if you've never read Arnold Ytreeide books at Christmas, you're missing out!).
As for this year... I just got the Christmas decorations out of storage, we still haven't gotten the tree up, and the advent calendar is staring at me from the counter still waiting to be hung. I did manage to get our advent book from the library, but we haven't started reading it yet. So, I guess it was no wonder when my kids asked me that question while out running errands the other day.
Now, don't get me wrong, not having a minute by minute countdown until Christmas, starting in mid-July, is okay with me. It's the seasonal equivalent of "Are we there yet?" However, I think we'll be missing something this year that is usually wrapped up in the less-than-patient anticipation of Christmas.
This makes me think of the first Christmas... sure Mary had about 9 months notice, but the shepherds didn't have time to get their shopping done and their decorations hung. They were blown off the hillside by angelic glory just in time to scurry on down to the stable. Yes... the wise men had their gifts all picked out and wrapped neatly, but let's remember that they didn't actually arrive until Jesus was about 2 years old. Even I could work well on that kind of prep time!
So, as I struggle to keep from getting frantic about what we've done and not done to prepare for Christmas, I'll remember to have a shepherd-like attitude and just go with the flow, enjoying each precious moment as it arrives, careful not to miss God's glory in the earthly celebration of the greatest heavenly event of all time.