Each of us is an Innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus. –Neal A. Maxwell
I was lamenting to a friend over skype this evening that Christmas in China is a bit disorienting. I’m a little ashamed to admit I miss some of things I do (snowflakes, hot chocolate, lights, trees), but not so embarrassed about the others that I really do miss (the tradition and season of Advent in the church, my family, and friends).
But the fact is, Christmas in China can be a bit of a solitary affair, and while my husband and I have hung our jade beads on our bonzai blue spruce, I’ve been practicing a few minutes of silent prayer in order to become centered, and have been reading through the birth story in the book of Luke, I’m not sure I feel prepared to something quite so momentous.
It’s not the stress–Christmas in China is wonderfully stress-free, but that’s because Christmas isn’t celebrated, there are no days off, like in every other month, and there’s not a lot of people who understand what it’s really about.
And yet, tonight as my friend and I sat in silence, pondering Mary’s song and the preparations God made for Jesus in her heart, I was struck again by her words, her prayers praising God for doing great things for her, scattering those who are proud in their inmost thoughts, and keeping God’s promise through the generations.
And then it hit me: the beauty of this season and God’s promise is that it never ends, and if I still need more time to prepare, God will provide it. We spend our whole lives preparing for Jesus, not just Advent, not just one season, not one day.
There’s so much left to prepare, and that’s a good thing.
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.