I looked at the date and gasped out loud. How can it possibly be this late already, with so much left undone? Every single year I tell myself that things have gotten so much simpler and easier for Christmas, and every single year I find myself still somehow woefully behind on all the things I’m supposed to do.
Except. For. One.
One thing I did right. One thing is all set, and I’m feeling pretty good about it: I went to confession. Yes I did! I didn’t like it, and it wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was real, and it happened. I confessed all my sins from the bottom of my heart; I sniveled a little (that part wasn’t mandatory, but I did it anyway); I was absolved; I said my little penance. And now I am ready for Christmas. Yes, I still have to buy a few more presents, wrap everything, finish decorating, get the dresses down from the attic, make cookies, start insisting more insistently that we listen to Christmas carols instead of whatever misbegotten musical nonsense my children think they want to hear, and probably figure out what we’re going to eat on Christmas day. And eleven other things that I’m allowing myself to forget at the moment.
But I went to confession! That means I’m ready for that baby to be born.
Is there a way you can get this done, too? Even if you have to skip something else that seems important, can you skip it and get to confession instead, and maybe take someone else with you? It’s important. It’s the most important thing.
I’m going to get corny now, and because it’s close to Christmas, you’re probably going to indulge me:
There is no treat so sweet as the forgiveness of the Lord.
There is no song as lovely as the angels crying “alleluia” when a sinner comes back home.
There is no gift as precious as returning the friendship of Christ.
There is no Christmas outfit so beautiful as the cleanliness of the soul in a state of grace.
There is no meal as satisfying as the words of absolution, giving you everything you need. Everything you need. All you need is to be back with Jesus again, because he loves you and wants to be your friend, and he is waiting for you.
I know you’re extremely busy. Still, go to confession, if there’s any possible way you can, even if it’s inconvenient and painful and maybe even dreadful. Do it before Christmas, and you will be ready. It really is that simple.