Christmas! Ready or not


Father Haynes Q Hubbard is the St Vincent’s Anglican Chaplain for the three congregations in the Algarve. He lives in Luz with his wife and three children.

WE ARE not even close to being ready for that.

We are wondering what we should do over the holidays, as family is so far away (in freezing cold Canada!). Wondering what we should be looking for as gifts for the children, and even as we do, wondering if we should feel guilty because so many people in the world have so little. Wondering what we should be getting one another, and knowing that what we really need are boring practical things like hankies and socks (oh! A lovely new hanky!).

And all the while the ‘busyness’ of the season is creeping in: rushing about, practicing for the school play, the Carol service, all the extra ‘things’ that creep in at this time. There is no possibility of really being ready. Not properly.

But then, isn’t that usually the case? Isn’t it generally so that I find myself unprepared for things momentous? And isn’t that how He found the place, when He came the first time? Ready? Hardly! He was born in a barn, to teen-aged parents, in the back-woods of no-where. To a people who did not know or understand His message even after He died.

So we might gain a little comfort in knowing that, to some degree, we are in good company if we are not ready. We might also give thanks that He doesn’t actually wait for us to get ready. He comes anyway. Ready or not: Here He comes!

Thank goodness. Because if He waited ‘til I said I was ready it would be far too late. Not for Him: for me. How can I be ready for God? Can I possibly expect myself to be adequately prepared for the One who made the Heavens and the Earth? I can barely prepare a tomato salad: preparing myself for God?  Good luck!

So He comes, willy nilly: ready or not. And finds us in all of our chaos and uncertainty. And what we discover, to our amazement and astonishment, is that He comes, not to obliterate our chaos and uncertainty, but to join us in them. To walk with us: not on us. To stoop into our lives, and find us where-ever we are. In a stable, on the beach. In an office, or in our den. In our joys, and most certainly in our sorrows. This little one, this infant child, comes into our space. And invites us to enter His.

To discover there a world with perspective. With a purpose. With Hope. To discover that when we enter His space as He does ours, that suddenly our un-readiness is not so important after all. All that really matters is our willingness. To welcome Him in. To our hearts, and to our homes. This Christmas.

You would be most welcome to join any of the Christian Churches here in the Algarve as we ‘prepare’ our hearts for Christmas.

Fr Haynes Hubbard can be reached at [email protected]