prepare.jpgBut seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

I procrastinate. I like to think I “work well under pressure,” but who am I kidding? There is no more quality in my completed work, no more creativity—I simply work faster. In college, I relished pulling off an all-nighter. After countless cups of coffee, my brain was literally packed to capacity. I would regurgitate all of it onto paper the following day, go home, and proceed to forget everything. Surprisingly, my method worked pretty well for my GPA, but it equated to total mayhem leading up to any major test. If only I had taken the time to actually learn about Aboriginal hierarchies, would I still remember them now?

This “method” has spilled over into my life even now. Anything is subject to my procrastination. I always get it done by my deadline, but I wonder how much more enjoyable life would be if I eliminated the chaos, planned appropriately, and allowed myself some peace in the process.

Even though it truly is my favorite time of year, Christmas seems to be the peak of my procrastination. Every year I say I will start planning early. Every year I say I will stock my freezer with all the goodies we’ll need, begin my shopping before Thanksgiving, and arrive on time for every event. Every year I say my heart will be prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ and will be centered around Him this season. Every year I look up from all the madness and realize it’s already time to take down the tree. And I missed it.

The approach I took in college came about because my priorities were a little out of sorts. Sleeping and hanging out with friends took precedence over studying. I wanted to skip the daily preparation for the big event, so I crammed it all into one lonely night. But with Christmas, I don’t want to skip one thing. I don’t want to skip the stockings, the fellowship, the food (oh, the food!), the cards from friends and family, the gift wrapping, or the faces of my children as they wake on Christmas morning.

Because you see, Christmas is not about cramming all you can into one season. It isn’t about the cooking, the shopping or the events we have on our calendar. It is about celebrating the birth of our Faith. Every big event requires preparation. But as Christians, only one preparation really counts. And that is having a heart ready to celebrate the birth of Christ so that when the 25th actually arrives, we don’t miss it.

Lord, remind me daily to put my focus on you and to seek your kingdom first before anything else.

What other preparations are you allowing to get in the way of preparing your heart for Christ this Christmas?