"Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." It's a famous quote by John Wooden (1910-2010), an NCAA basketball coach who won an unprecedented 10 national championships for UCLA. It applies to the sport of running, too. As a matter of fact, it applies to any sport. However, I think it hits a beat particularly for running races; and I can speak for the marathon race. After having run 21 marathons, I have developed a routine for long-term and short-term preparation. The long term involves the running workouts and the diet. The short-term covers the little details of bringing the right number of carbohydrate gels, pinning my bib on my running shirt the night before, attaching the timing chip, and remembering to press start on my stopwatch when I cross the start mat, etc. One can never over-prepare for such an important event as a marathon race.
But what about preparing for Christmas? Forget about the long term preparation. Tonight is Christmas Eve. All over the Christian world, people will celebrate the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ. He lives amongst us but he is reborn in every single person's lives each year. Are you ready to celebrate his birth tonight? Speaking for myself, I can never wing a preparation this magnitude. I have to admit that I thought about what I needed to do to prepare my heart for Christmas but didn't do anything solid about it. Unfortunately I was stressed out for the first 16 days of December because of work. I hardly went back to the the preparation thoughts at all. Then when the Christmas break started I eased up and sort of unwinded myself. I can tell, because my running mileage started climbing back when the break started. Unfortunately, I ruined the "waiting" spirit by some useless anxieties. However, I was able to turn myself around in the nick of time. Yes, in the nick of time. It's a few hours before Christmas eve. My family and I are getting ready for church for our traditional Christmas Eve Mass. I can tell you I feel joyful. I am ready. Thanks for the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation two nights ago. It's not the best practice to cram any preparation. In running, I am asking for injury. But I think, I can confidently say I am ready for Christmas this year.