“Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

“An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

“The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

These are the words of Edward Hays in A Pilgrim’s Almanac. We should take heed. As we all fuss about in the days that lie ahead of us, we must take care and realize that this time of year is often the most stressful for many. The expectations and pressures that are placed on people this time of year are ridiculous. There are extra demands on time, on money, on patience, from work, from friends and from families. There are just more and more expectations.

Let’s not let ‘Old Scratch’ have his way. We are preparing for a feast that brings light to dispel all darkness. We are preparing our hearts and minds to be an image that offers new light and hope to a world that years for something new. We prepare for a time that celebrates the notion that God cared to know so much about who we are, how we feel, and what we are going through, that God became one with us.  As we prepare for his coming, let’s not miss it in our busyness.

Put down that which is taking up your time to be still and wait with anxious anticipation the redemptive presence of Light that dispels all darkness.

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson