‘Tis the season. The standard greeting these days seems to be, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” Frankly, this is a question that flummoxes me every time. Honestly, I really have not the faintest idea how one is supposed to answer. Am I ready for Christmas? What does that even mean?
Have I decorated the house? No. To be perfectly frank, I haven’t even mopped the floor in some weeks. I have not hung lights. So far, there is no tree. In my house these things are usually accomplished somewhere in the vicinity of Christmas Eve. In my defense I will say that trees are much cheaper then, and my daughter has come to understand Christmas Eve as the traditional time to decorate a tree.
Have I baked cookies for my co-workers? That’s an easy one. I work online. My co-workers, wonderful as they are, live across the country. They don’t expect cookies. But then, neither do my neighbors. OK, neither do my friends and family. Sometimes it’s best to set low expectations.
Have I bought presents for all and sundry? Um…not so much. Some day very soon I will think about what incredibly thoughtful items might be purchased for my nieces and nephew that Amazon can gift wrap and mail for me. Shopping for my 14-year-old daughter is best done by gift card. We agreed that the lovely hand-made mask my wife dearly wanted would be her Christmas present, but it’s already hanging on the wall. The rest of my family doesn’t really exchange presents. Can I just say that anything involving a shopping mall is NOT my idea of a jolly holiday?
I guess by all prevailing standards the clear answer is that no, I am not in the least ready for Christmas.
Unless you mean: Am I ready to wish wes-hael—be whole—to those around me in the traditional wassail greeting of the season?
Unless you mean: Am I ready to embrace the dark of the year, but also keep an eye on the lights that shine in the early night?
Unless you mean: Am I ready to consider what it means to imagine God in the form of a powerless baby?
Unless you mean: Am I ready to follow a star, or whatever might beckon me toward the surprising, the miraculous, the new?
In that case, I’m still not sure, but I suspect—I hope—that the answer is yes.