I’m writing this on November 11, 2011. The leaves are still on many of the trees (although I saw my first snowflakes of the season this morning). The hype for Christmas is already in full swing. The decorations are up in the stores. The bell ringers are out. Lots of holiday plans are being made or already underway. With all the expectations and activities to help us get ready for Christmas, it’s easy to get carried away and exhausted by our preparations. Here’s a thought I came across that is a word we all need to keep in mind during this season.

“Getting ready for Christmas is a whole lot different than getting ready for Christ. One may leave you depleted…the other fulfilled. How can you do both?”

For me, it comes down to balance—making sure amid all the “things” I do to get ready for Christmas I take time to open myself to and “be” in God’s presence. Prayer and Bible study alone and with others and corporate worship help me get ready for and make room for Christ. (If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to pick up an advent devotional at Church and join us for our Advent series on the True Gifts of Christmas.) In the things I do, I try to keep others in mind. I try to put a few dollars in those red kettles when I go by them. When I’m buying gifts, try to include some “fair trade” products and support local businesses when I can. (For fair trade gifts, check out the TradeAsOne.com web site. We will be handing out cards with this web site on it. If you use the code on the card when you make your purchase, not will you help provide a living wage to someone living in poverty but to help Aldersgate as well. Watch for more information on that in our Sunday bulletins. Another place to buy gifts that help those in poverty is through Red Bird Mission at crafts.rbmission.org.) When buying gifts for my family I try not to overdo it, which leaves me more than enough to be generous toward others through programs like White Gifts and other worthy programs.

I don’t do this perfectly. I can get as overwhelmed with all the doing as much as anyone else. Yet, I find that the more I am able to focus on getting ready for Christ, the more I’m ready for Christmas without being exhausted. It’s my prayer that you will find your own balance and ultimately experience joy in your preparations for both Christmas and Christ.

In Christ’s love,

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