Last night at the Christmas parade there were people who walked by carrying crosses. It was jarring to see. I'm thinking baby in the manger and here comes the symbol of death. I think this was what was jarring we put Jesus dead on the cross and there is nothing to do. We spend time talking about Advent being a season of preparation, in my own Bible study class people had no idea what was different about the season of Lent opposed to Advent. I suggested they think of what it is like to prepare for a baby, what do you do? This is what Advent means opening ourselves to nesting, joy, wonder, and fear. We don't slow down to think about the baby - the gift from God. How will we choose to prepare ourselves for this coming of a newborn into our lives? Will we slow down and look for ways to open ourselves to the sacred around us? After all isn't this what it means to prepare. To be ready to say yes and have the sacred fill our lives. Are you prepared?