With Christmas less than two weeks away … and the number of “advent” calendars that actually talk about Advent decreasing … I suggest we do a little something together this week that is actually geared toward preparing our hearts for the coming (advent) celebration of the incarnation of our God and Savior Jesus.  God has promised to be at work in us through his Word, and I have found he frequently supports that work through music.  So, this week, I simply offer to you a little scripture enhanced by the words of a song.
“The angel Gabriel was sent from God … to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.  And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.’ …
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’  And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.’ … Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.  And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is  the fruit of your womb!  And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?’ … And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God by Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.  For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.’” (Luke 1.26-47)
This is the Word of the Lord.  And here are the words of one of my (many) favorite Christmas hymns, written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene:

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new;
This Child that you delivered
Will soon deliver you?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod,
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God?
Mary, did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again,
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb!
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Was Heaven’s perfect Lamb,
And the sleeping Child you’re holding
Is the great, the Great I AM?
Oh, Mary, Mary, did you know?

If you don’t get this, then you are not really getting the meaning of Christmas … so please, take the time to mediate upon all of Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2 … you might add in John 1.  This, rather than from the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, Mickey Mouse, or Nat King Cole is where you will find the True Christmas story.  And it is through hearing the real story that God gets us ready during this season of Advent.
Now, please do not consider me to be a Grinch trying to steal your joy.  Our house is festively decorated.  We fully enjoy the many holiday lights, songs, and treats that fill the season.  We eagerly anticipate gatherings with family and friends.  And the chocolates of the Advent calendars are even enjoyed by this individual who readily prefers vanilla. These all – and many other traditions – are a great part of the Advent season.
This said, I must however reiterate myself that the essence of Christmas is neither about Santa Claus coming to town nor chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  Nor will you truly be prepared if you watch “A Christmas Carol” again (as I did this week), Elf, or any other favored seasonal movie (for the 50th time).  And, to the best of my knowledge, neither Amazon or Kroger feature what we need to be ready.
I will keep this short so that you have extra time to meditate upon the real story … perhaps even to listen a few extra times to the hymn … and to savor the fact that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy.” (Titus 3.4-8)
Yes, together my friends, Let’s Get Ready” for the Advent of our King!

Let’s Get Ready