We all spend a lot of time getting ready for Christmas with gifts, cards, decorating, cooking, visits to Santa, shopping, caroling and presentations. Why do we do all this? “Well, everyone else is doing it,” you might say. There’s some truth to that, because after all, we want to join those who are celebrating the birth of Jesus.
There is an importance to all our Christmas preparations. However, it would be sad if we didn’t do the most important preparation of preparing our souls to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Think about the Pharisees and the Sadducees who came to John for Baptism in today’s Gospel. John is pretty rough on them calling them a brood of vipers. They received John’s baptism of repentance, but they are not really sincere. It appears that they just wanted to put on a fake show of conversion. He tells them that they also had to prove that they changed for the better by producing good works. He warns them that it is not enough to say that they are children of Abraham to be saved. They have to actually live as God’s people.
The most important preparation for Christmas that you and I need to make is our determination to turn away from evil and sin by turning to the One who brings us forgiveness and peace. The world needs true Christians now more than ever. The world needs us to celebrate the saving work of Jesus Christ; past, present and future. The external preparations we make for Christmas are important, but nothing is more important than our preparations in allowing Jesus to shape our hearts and lives into His image and likeness.