If you’ve been in the South for any length of time, you’ll hear someone use the phrase, “Fixin’ to get ready”. Usually, someone will say, “I’m fixin’ to get ready to go the store. Want to go with me?”
Notice how the phrase is used. Someone wants to go to the store, but they’re not going to the store yet. They need to get ready to go to the store, but they aren’t getting ready yet.
They’re “fixin’ to get ready.” Even though a lot of people in the South use this phrase, no one is quite sure what it means.
As I turned the pages in my calendar this past week and “Advent” was printed across the top of the week, I thought about this phrase from my childhood. Advent is the time for the church to prepare for the coming of Christ. Advent is a time to get ready.
We all know this. We know Jesus is coming. We know He’ll be born in Bethlehem. We know we have these four weeks to get ready.
And we’re fixin’ to get ready.
And we’ll get ready just as soon as we get back from shopping for presents, get back from our family visits, get back…well all of the other places we have to go over the holidays.
We know we should find a little space to worship, a quiet moment to pray, but we don’t. Christmas comes and goes and we’re never quite ready for it when it gets here and a little depressed when it’s over, thinking we missed something important again.
We’re never ready, are we? Christmas always gets here too fast. We arrive on this holy day exhausted, frazzled, nearly bankrupted, and making promises to ourselves that we’ll never do Christmas this way again. We’re tired of traveling. No more (pick one that’s appropriate) airplanes, mini-vans with children and dogs, going to visit this or that family…next year is going to be different.
It won’t be. We won’t be ready next year either.
We’ll spend another year “fixin’ to get ready.”
We’ll spend our time buying stuff that our kids tell us they “have to have.” We’ll leave not-so-subtle hints about what we want people to buy for us. We’ll work out logistics with family about travel and food — and oh, yeah, we’ll run to church and welcome baby Jesus into our world.
And we’ll miss Him again.
Why? Because we never got ready.
We never sat down long enough, we never got quiet enough to make room for Jesus in our lives. We never created time or space for worship. We never slowed down long enough to pray. We never allowed ourselves to welcome Christ into our lives.
Think about it. There were a lot of people in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. So many, we’re told, that there was no room in the inn. Yet, they missed the birth of Jesus.
Everyone knew the Messiah was coming, but no one was ready. Like us, everybody was fixin’ to get ready, but no one was actually ready.
Most of us think we’ll get ready after we get through this present challenge, whatever challenge we’re facing at the moment. The problem is that life rarely gives us this kind of time. Suddenly, we’ll no longer have time to GET ready. We’ll need to BE ready.
That’s what Advent is – time to get ready. Christ is coming and now is the time we have to get ready.
But we don’t need to get ready. We need to be ready.
Christ is coming. Get ready.