It is time to prepare for Christmas. Not just the buying of gifts, decorating and sending cards to our friends and family, but preparing our hearts for the arrival of the birth of the Christ child.


Over 2,000 years ago, the Lord God sent a Redeemer to the earth in the form of a baby. This baby grew up and died for the sins of the world, so we could have reconciliation with God. The name of the baby was Jesus Christ.


We are now officially in the season of Advent, which is the preparation for the coming of our Savior. How do you and your family prepare for Christmas? Do you make gift baskets for those less fortunate, buy gifts for children whose parents may be away for some reason, or donate to organizations such as the Salvation Army? Many churches "adopt" families and provide food and gifts for them during the Christmas season. There are many ways to reach out to others. Even a simple smile and being kind can boost someone's day during this hectic time of year.


From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14 there will be a Living Nativity at the Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, 8115 4th St. Refreshments and a time of fellowship will be provided after the tour. This is a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season by visiting the Bethlehem of old and participating in the Christmas story featuring a cast composed of Dr. Luke, the Census taker, Herod, the Shepherds, along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. It is a wonderful production and will help you focus and celebrate the birth of Christ.


Reading the book of Luke in the New Testament and getting a first-hand account of the very first Christmas is also meaningful this time of year. We need to keep our focus on the blessings the Lord has given us, rather than what we may "want."


This is also a good time to keep those in our thoughts and prayers who have lost loved one's during the year, as well as those facing chronic diseases and difficult circumstances. We also need to keep our military and others in our prayers, those who can't spend the holiday's with their loved ones. Look around, there are many people that need a touch of kindness and God's love this time of year.


Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.