Our Advent journey is almost over. Christmas is right around the corner. We may be proud of all that we’ve already accomplished, or we may be scrambling to accomplish more in the days that remain. We may be enjoying the swirl of holiday activity, or we may be exhausted. There is joy in knowing that our waiting is nearly over, but there is also joy in knowing that we still have a little more time to prepare.

To properly prepare in this final week, let us wait in humility. Whether we have marched straight toward the manger or traveled a road filled with bumps and turns, we have been led by the true Light, the beacon of God’s love that shines in even our darkest hours. Now, we are almost in sight of the manger. Before we reach it, let’s take a moment to put aside all the distractions that might slow us down, all the conflicts and worries of daily life that detract from our relationship with the Lord. Let’s remember that what matters most is that we arrive at the manger with hearts open, heads bowed, and hands ready to serve.

Most of all, we need to remember that the gift that awaits us in the manger is unmatchable. Whether we bring the treasures of the Magi, the heartfelt gift of the Little Drummer Boy, or the simple offering of faith, we cannot match the grace embodied in that baby. So let us put aside striving and pride, worry and struggle; let us embrace God’s unconditional love and His power to see us through any storm.

There is holiday work to be done, but God’s work must always come first. Let us work and wait in humility, understanding that we are not worthy of the love and forgiveness that came to Earth on that sacred night in Bethlehem, yet exulting that we are nevertheless loved and forgiven and saved. Let us surrender to the Prince of Peace, giving Him dominion over every moment of our lives.

“Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.”
John Wesley Work, Jr., 1865