We made it! Today is the start of a new year.
We made it through the season of Advent; a season of preparation. We got through Christmas Day with all the unwrapping and the visits with family. And for Megan and I, we got through all the worship services.
Advent was the time we prepared our homes with decorations, putting up the Christmas tree, planning parties, wrapping presents, and of course, shopping. But Advent held more for us. Instead of preparing by hanging Christmas lights, Advent is a time we prepare our hearts for the Light of Christ.
Megan and I decided that this year we were doing very little Christmas decorating. The only tree was the little Charlie Brown tree we have. No lights. No wreaths (okay, one wreath). No oranaments.
Instead we have been preparing for our first child. And while that has involved decorating a nursery, birth classes, lots of baby showers, and more, it also involves preparing our hearts.
In a few short weeks there will be another little soul accompanying our home, our lives, and our hearts.
None of the stuff we did was required. We didn’t HAVE to go to the classes or HAVE to get a nursery ready. None of that stuff is a requirement for having a baby. Yet, it does make life a lot easier if you do. We attended two classes through the hospital, each two and a half hours long. As I sat and listened, and yes, learned a few things I didn’t know, it became clear to me that not everyone takes this stuff that seriously. There are some who never take these classes, and others who, when they do, don’t take it seriously.
But none of it is required to have a baby.
It seems fitting that Advent comes along each year towards the end of the year. In a way, while preparing for Christmas, Advent prepares us for a new year. We do not HAVE to engage in the spiritual disciplines of Advent, but when we do it opens our hearts to Christ.
If you’ve gone through this preparing to have a baby thing, you know you go through a moment or two (or three or four) where you are totally overwhelmed by the thought that nothing is ready. The nursery isn’t finished. The guest room for grandparents isn’t ready. The hospital bag isn’t packed. And, where’s the car seat?
But then, miraculously there is that day when all is right. That day when you no longer worry about the nursery or the guest room or the hospital bag. (Where’s the car seat??) You just know, deep in your heart, that you are ready.
And while not everything is completely and perfectly ready, our hearts are. Our hearts are ready to welcome the new baby into our lives. Our hearts are ready to meet her. Our hearts are ready to bring her home and create a new home this new year.