“Are you ready for Christmas?” asked the barista as she prepared a warm, winter drink at my local coffee house. “No, not at all,” replied the customer. Then, while she waited for her drink, she went on to relay the long list of gifts she still had yet to purchase for her family.
As I sat listening to this conversation the other day, my heart began to sink. Was the customer’s response a fitting answer to the question? Is that what it really means to be “ready for Christmas?” Is preparedness for the advent of our Lord simply relegated to having all of the gifts wrapped under the tree, the fridge full of prepared menu items for Christmas dinner, the family over for a gathering, the Christmas cards in the mail, or any other earthly thing that has come to mark the “Christmas season” here in America? Is it possible that we have come to miss the true meaning of Christmas all together?
What is a fitting response to the question, “are you ready for Christmas?” If Santa, gifts, food, family, cards, jingle bells, mistletoe, ornaments, carols, Christmas trees, lights, reindeer, or any other thing be stripped away this holiday season, would it still be possible to experience the fullness of Christmas? What exactly is the true meaning of Christmas anyway?
In an effort to help answer this very question, Pastor John MacArthur delivered a comprehensive message, “The People Who Missed Christmas,” on this very issue from Luke chapter 2. While this message was originally delivered in 1979, the timeless truth of God’s Word makes it incredibly relevant today. I commend it as a means of growing in understanding of this very issue … and to help cultivate a fitting response to the question, “are you ready for Christmas?”