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Frazzled spirits shouldn’t be part of Christmas preparations

The serious countdown has begun. The day that Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ is less than a week away.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling the pressure to get ready. There are still gifts to purchase and wrap, food to prepare, decorations to put in place, cards to send, family and friends who want more of our time ‘ all of this in addition to the regular weekly routine of work and everyday chores at home like laundry, cleaning, cooking and caring for pets.
Where did we ever get the idea that we need to do so much for Christmas? Is it because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that we think we have to do even more for such a special occasion as Christmas?
The Bible mentions preparing for the birth of Christ, but there is no example of anyone trying to accomplish such elaborate plans that causes the preparer to work himself or herself into a frenzy. We know the Wise Men brought gifts to the newborn child; however, the three kings selected simple items that they probably had on hand.
Jesus doesn’t care that our homes, once decorated for the holidays, look like they belong on the pages of Martha Stewart magazine or that our kitchens are filled with baked goodies rivaling those prepared by Rachel Ray. And the King of kings certainly doesn’t expect us to max out our credit cards in search of those perfect gifts for family and friends.
Rather, he wants us to prepare our hearts ‘ not just at Christmas but all yearlong ‘ for his coming. It seems too often that as we try to conjure up the perfect Christmas, our hearts become hardened to the true meaning behind the reason we celebrate Dec. 25 at all.
So, as Christmas Day 2007 draws near, here are some things to consider: Let’s slow down, enjoy time with family and friends, contact loved ones who may be living far away now, be kinder to strangers, help those in need, and most important, let us remember the reason for the season. Many churches in the area have special services, including inspirational candlelight ones on Christmas Eve, that can help provide meaning to the holiday.
May you find peace on earth and help spread goodwill to all. Merry Christmas!