Another thing that struck me in the prayer book yesterday was a prayer (fancy that).
At Christmas time there’s a lot of effort put into being ready: ready to give gifts, ready with the potato salad, dressed and ready to head out the door to visit aunts, uncles and whoever else… and ready to make welcome a baby.
Let us pray that we may be ready for Christ’s coming.
But what on earth does that look like?
I don’t think sitting around all December waiting for Christmas Day to roll in is a good way to be ready. My understanding of God is that he’s way too practical for that kind of laziness.
I think some more of the prayer makes it clearer:
All powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming…
We’re not sitting around twiddling our thumbs, we’re busy doing things; but when the baby Jesus arrives we welcome him with open arms.
Reading that prayer made me think of a verse in the Bible where Jesus says:
Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.
I possibly also thought of that verse because I went door-knocking yesterday afternoon. I was handing out brochures for my Church’s Christmas Carols event.
I know that HNAC Alison would not be a fan of Christians knocking on her front door.
My actual self always wonders what reception I’m going to get post-knock. For the record I’ve only ever had the door slammed in my face once.
I went with a crew of people from my Church to a housing estate I didn’t even know existed in a neighbouring suburb. About half of the houses I went to were vacant and a few of the occupants were moving interstate over the next few days.
It turned out that the estate where we went is mostly used by the Defence Force and that at this time of year many of our service people move to take up a new post elsewhere around the country (you learn something new every day, right?)
But when I knocked on the first house, I didn’t know this and I was still wondering what sort of welcome we’d get. Before we’d even made it to the door, it was swung open wide and a young woman nursing a tiny baby said ‘Hi, come on in’.
No one ever does that.
We stepped in the doorway and were inside the place. Before too long we’d explained who we were and why we were there. At this point she explained that she thought we were movers arriving because they were expecting some people right at that point in time to come and start shifting their things.
Personally I think this is hilarious, but I think they were a little concerned that they’d let a pair of Christians into their house so readily. They did see the humour in it though.
As we walked on to the next place a minute later I thought to myself:
That’s was it. That’s the ‘Jesus welcome’ at Christmas time.
I don’t know who those people are or where they’re about to move in the next few days. I just know that at least one of them works for Defence.
But whoever they are, I thank them for their demonstration of what to do when the message of Christmas (Jesus) shows up.
Open the door wide and let him come right in.
Yours in readiness,