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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Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

Isaiah 7:13-16

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Our son was studying abroad, so we traveled to Italy to spend Christmas with him. It was very different. There were no stockings to hang on the mantel, no Christmas tree to decorate, no gaily-wrapped presents, no extended family in brightly colored sweaters, no pecan pie.

Instead of Santa Claus in every window, we found that every eatery, store, church, hotel, and tourist destination had a manger scene on display. Each one was different. They had the usual Biblical characters, but there were peasants of every kind: tanners, blacksmiths, farmers, bakers, priests, even barmaids! No one, however, had a baby Jesus...that is, until Christmas day. And on Christmas day, the baby Jesus was slipped quietly onto his manger of hay. It was the most important sign of all that Christmas had come.

Sarah Shelton

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Our preparations are ending. We await your arrival, O Lord. 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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