Every year, Christians around China actively prepare for Christmas by decorating churches, rehearsing shows, and purchasing gifts.
Although these acts are understandable, if this is all Christians do, then Christmas has lost its meaning. As children of God, Christians should emphasize one thing: preparing themselves fully. As Christmas approaches, ask "am I 'really' ready?"
Lately, some phenomena in the church has come to my attention: sisters fighting for prominent positions in formations, quarrelling over incorrect moves, rolling eyes at one another for choosing which hymn to sing, commenting on the lack of coordination and leaving, and even remaining silent. (Note: Chinese churches do performing for Christmas: singing hymns, dancing, etc.)
Seeing this, it truly is sad. Is this what we are actually like? Are we really going to welcome the Lord's birth with conflicts, sluggishness, discordance, and nonchalance?
How sad it is that the holy Christmas worship has been turned into a stage for performing to manifest us. it has become a crisis in modern secularized Christmas.
Do you know that God loved us long before we knew our Savior? When we resisted Him, He had already died for us. He gave us grace, blessings, and the greatest love; is this how we prepare ourselves? Is this how we welcome Him?
Do you know that there was no place for Him when our Lord was born?
Do you know that other than the magi, no one else worshipped Him?
Looking at our Savior, do you have the heart to greet Him full of froth of the world, filthy darkness, or rigidity and cold? Do you have the heart to worship Him with discouragement, weakness, and indifference?
Take this moment to review yourselves; are you sitting on the throne of Herod, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, or your self? It's really hard to prepare when we don't fully understand ourselves; unless we learn from the king of Nineveh who rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, we cannot say to our savior: "please take your seat!"
The most indispensable thing for the children of God to do during Christmas is to prepare their hearts as the Holy Temple for the birth of God. Without the willing heart, what's the point of the superficial preparations? And Christmas is no longer the same when man replaces God as the main character!
May we prepare ourselves as Christmas is coming!
(Note: the author is a guest contributor and a preacher from Henan, central China.)
-Translated by Grace Hubl