NORMAN — Ready for Christmas? Have all of your shopping done? Is the tree up and decorated?
This year, I remember seeing Christmas in early September in one store we visited. My friends and I talk about this every year, trying to determine who was the one to see the first emergences of the “happy holidays” retail empire raise its fearsome head.
I love Christmas, and I love the little Christmas shops in various places that stay open yearround. It always gives me a warm heart to stroll through those stores — no matter what the season or weather is outside. My favorite in Bronner’s Christmas Store in Frankfurt, Mich. It’s the world’s largest, to my knowledge.
This is the season of Advent. It is a time for the preparation of our hearts to receive the Christ Child into our midst, knowing He was Immanuel — God in the flesh — God with us. With this in mind, I’d like to share a poem a ran across over two decades ago in an Ideals magazine, called “Ready For Christmas?”:
“Ready for Christmas,” she said with a sigh, as she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high;
Then wearily sat for a moment and read till soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quickly spoke a voice in her dream, “Ready for Christmas? What do you mean?”
Ready for Christ, when only last week, you wouldn’t acknowledge your friend on the street?
Ready for Christmas, while holding a grudge? Perhaps you had better let God be the Judge.
Why how can the Christ-child come and abide in a heart that is selfish and filled with pride?
Ready for Christmas, when only today, a beggar man came and you turned him away
Without even a smile to show that you cared? The little he asked, it could have been spared.