“O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.”
As the Prophet Isaiah foretold:
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14
External preparations are important and necessary this time of year, and so are the internal preparations. We should prepare our homes and souls to receive the King and Savior of the Universe.
It helps to prepare our souls to encounter the Lord on Christmas Day, by praying and reflecting on the liturgy. It is a great help to offer our day to God early in the morning, so that our thoughts and intentions will be pure as we go about the mundane tasks of getting things ready up until the last minute.
We put extra effort into cooking, tidying up our homes, and preparing things nicely for guests this time of year. We go the extra mile, making more outings than usual for shopping, going to parties, and visiting relatives. All of this can be exhausting.
And we do all this, not because it is the thing to do or it’s what you are expected to do. Our traditions have a much deeper significance.
It’s easy to overlook that significance, when it becomes routine. So it is important to help ourselves with reminders around the home for why this is all so important.
Keeping that manger scene at home or in the office, in a prominent place that we are bound to pass by several times a day, and occasionally taking a brief moment to reflect and pray helps a lot. Preparation, both internal and external, is very important.
But this is not the most important thing. The important thing is just that he is coming to us.
Our homes, our lives, and our souls will never be perfect. We cannot make them perfect. He comes to us anyway. He created us; he wants to be with us; he wants to live among us.
This should be our consolation and our hope. This is really the one thing that matters.
Come Emmanuel, and be with us!