Christmas came- Christ came- no matter who was ready.
There's a reason for this. The reason is that while Christ warns us to be ready- ready for his coming, ready for our deaths, ready for our judgment- Christ also is the one who makes us ready.
We cannot be ready for the things that matter most unless Christ has come into our lives, and transformed them.
We cannot be ready to respond to hatred with love unless Christ has tamed our tongues and quieted our hearts. We cannot be ready to give without counting the cost unless, in Christ, we know that self-denial gives us real joy. We cannot be ready to go out and make disciples unless Christ has made us disciples.
And we cannot be ready to give up pondering "earthly-minded" things unless Christ has lifted our sights, transformed our vision, filled us with a love that consumes all else.
That transformation takes a lifetime. It is the transformation of becoming a saint. We have a part to play. Mostly our part is to ask for grace, to try, to fail, to repent and try again. To trust that our efforts are not in vain, and that, by grace, our habits will become virtues and our virtues will perfect our intellects, our appetites, and our wills.
But all of that starts with Christ. With grace. With his coming into our lives- through the sacraments, and Scripture, and the Church- just as he came into the world in Bethlehem.
In his 2010 Christmas homily, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that in the Christmas message, two "elements belong together: grace and freedom, God's prior love for us, without which we could not love him, and the response that he awaits from us, the response that he asks for so palpably through the birth of his son."
He continued: "God has anticipated us with the gift of his Son. God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways. He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us. But he is still waiting for us to join him in love. He loves us, so that we too may become people who love, so that there may be peace on earth."
Things start small. With a glimpse of hope, or a moment of self-mastery- with an act of charity that surprises us, or a moment of clarity we didn't expect. Faith grows. Hope grows. Love grows.
God doesn't move in our lives because we are perfect, God moves in our lives to make us perfect.
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We may not be ready for Christmas, but Jesus Christ is ready for us.