The Norman Transcript

December 20, 2013

Are you ready for Christmas?

By Karl Burkhardt
The Norman Transcript

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.

Ready for Christmas? You’ve worked, it is true, but just doing things you wanted to do.

Ready for Christmas? Your circle’s too small. Why you’re not ready for Christmas at all!”

She awoke with a start, and a cry of despair, “There’s so little time, and I’ve still to prepare!

O Father, forgive me, I see what you mean, to be ready means more than a house swept clean!”

Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree, It’s the heart swept clean that He wants to see,

A heart that is free from bitterness and sin, Ready for Christmas — and ready for Him!

How many of us would attend a lavish celebration if the “guest of honor” wasn’t even invited? Kind of stupid, huh? Or as they say, “Duh.” The very word Christmas literally translated means “Celebration of Christ.”

In the midst of Charles Shultz’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Linus steps onto stage and recenters the gang’s attention toward scripture. Then he walks off and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

With the myriad of preparations you are making this holiday season, are you really ready for Christmas?

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