When you know someone is coming to your house, you can make adequate preparations. You can make sure the house is clean, you’re no longer in your pyjamas and you have something to feed them if they will be staying for a meal.

But did people know Jesus was coming into the world? Or did the first Christmas catch them by surprise?

There were many notices from God that Jesus was coming into the world. For example, thousands of years before the birth of Jesus, God predicted the crushing of Satan by a descendant from the first woman Eve. God said to Satan: ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ (Genesis 3:15).

Also hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah the prophet wrote: ‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14).

Then months before the birth of Jesus, an angel told Mary she was going to give birth to Christ. We read in Luke’s gospel: ‘But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”‘ (Luke 1:30-33).  These are just a few examples of God’s repeated notices that he was sending his Son into the world to pay for our sins.

But did anyone prepare themselves for Christ’s arrival, like you get ready when someone lets you know they’re coming to visit your house?

Yes, in Luke 2 we read that people like Simeon and Anna were ready. They welcomed Jesus into the world and praised God for his arrival.

But God didn’t just predict Christ’s first arrival as a child in this world. God has also warned us that Christ is going to come again, this time to judge the world. God says: ‘See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.’ (Jude 1:14-15).

So what do you need to do to prepare for Christ’s arrival? Believe in his death for you. The Bible says ‘everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.’ (John 3:15). If we do that, when Jesus returns we will ‘meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

So are you ready for Christ’s second coming? Some were ready for his first coming, but many weren’t. Listen to God’s notices that Christ is coming a second time and trust in him so you are prepared for his arrival. Then you will one day be taken to be with him for eternity in heaven.

Joel Radford.