While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:6-7 NIV

Did Christmas ever sneak up on you? Well, it did me!

Here we are with Christmas coming soon, and I still have shopping to do! NEVER in my adult life have I been this late getting ready!

Now, it’s no longer sneaking…. Instead, it’s barreling toward me with the speed of a locomotive. I hear it coming! I feel it coming and there’s nothing I can do to slow it down! And I am screaming, “Not yet, I’m not ready!”

I might make it… I probably will… But it will be like a baseball player sliding into home just before the catcher tags him out…making it, just under the wire!

For some people, that sliding-into-home thing works.

They don’t care how they get there, just so long as they make it. Not so much with me, especially as I age.

It’s just too stressful! It’s too much mess! I need serenity! I NEED MORE TIME!!!

With all this hustle and bustle, I have had to make myself stop to remember the true meaning of the season, the reason we have Christmas after all.

A friend wrote these words: “The birth of our Savior wasn’t pretty. He wasn’t born in a nice, neat, clean barn. He was laid in a feeding trough…..I’m so thankful He came and that God’s plan was what it was, but it was not pretty. Our Lord slept in a feeding trough for me. He slept there for you. The sweet little serene scenes we see do not come close to truly depicting the truth. And He did it all for me. He did it all for you.”

Well, right, it absolutely was not pretty.

Theirs was not a neatly mapped-out trip with Expedia reservations and mints on the pillows.

It was right down to the wire. It was messy. It was kind of like my Christmas preparations this year: Let’s just deal with it as it happens!

And yet….and yet it was the fulfillment of prophecy. It was planned to the tiniest detail. It was what God intended all along. And it was wonderful! IT STILL IS!

It’s Christmas after all, and it’s here. Ready or not!

Devotion by Cheryl Jones. Growing up as a “preacher’s kid,” I am now a teacher, writer, and (best of all) a grandmother. I am a graduate of Mississippi College and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. My husband and I live in Monroe, LA.