There are certain signals we all recognize that warn us Christmas is on its way. The day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, reminds us that Christmas is near. Holiday advertising is everywhere we look and in everything we hear. Christmas jingles won’t let us forget what’s just around the corner. We’re told of every financing plan imaginable to ensure that we can afford all the gifts we “need” to buy for all the people on our growing list. Websites assume their “Christmas look,” and retailers put on their most elaborate displays. Families also begin the task of tying all their loose ends together—in the hope that, for a few days at least, they can “be a family” in the holiday spirit.

The most significant indicator, however, that a special day is drawing near is on our church calendar: the beginning of Advent. The season of Advent is the time we prepare, not for extra expenditures of cash, but to remember the Christ child who came to live among us. We attempt, once again, to consider that God actually assumed our humanity and was born and entered our world to secure our redemption.

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

So while we will no doubt be caught up in all the hurried activity of the Christmas season, let us also take time this Advent to prepare our hearts to welcome once again the God who laid aside His glory and assumed our humanity because of His great love for us. There are few truths in this world that can be more wonderful, more startling, more exciting than this.