Between getting ready in the morning for the day and getting ready at night for sleep, we live our lives. Much of that time is spent preparing for the hours to come.

But even as we wait for what is going to happen, it is important to stop. To stop and simply be still.

Sometimes being still is the best preparation of all.

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All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:22-25

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Preparing for Christmas requires everyone’s cooperation. Sometimes it sounds more like commands: Wrap the presents! Trim the tree! Sing in the choir! Wash the dishes! Pick up your brother at the airport! Cook the family meal! Clean your room! Go to church!

We don’t know much about Joseph, but the little we know speaks of a quietly faithful man: “He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him....”

Even with reservations, Joseph cooperated with God’s plan, was wed to Mary, and became the father of God’s very own son. His loyalty speaks to the possible benefits of responding with faithfulness to what is commanded.

Sarah Shelton

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O God, as I prepare for Christmas, open my ears to hear what you would have me do. Give me the courage and loyalty to respond to your commands with the same quiet faithfulness as Joseph. Amen.

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Go now into the midst of busyness and hurry.
But carry with you these moments of still and quiet.

You are better prepared now than you were even moments ago
For the day that lies ahead.

And God has prepared good gifts in the midst of the hours
For you to know and cherish.

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Jackson Shelton is the pastor of Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the proud mother of David (24) and Dannelly (19), and the lucky wife of Lloyd.

Glorious Messiah

Jim Morgan

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