For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!” isn’t a Christmas song, right? But is… More
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Whether gift-giving is a source of anxiety or joy, we can rejoice together in the gift of God’s grace. It’s often said that Jesus is the first and best Christmas gift. But He’s also the Giver! He gave boundless grace in coming to our fallen world, in preaching and teaching on our soil, in suffering and dying on a rugged cross, in rising from the tomb and granting Life to each of us. We praise Him for these gifts and so much more. What gifts are you sharing and revisiting this Christmas? Let these joys remind you of our great and mighty Giver always.
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18
Snow covers. Fresh snow, falling softly from the sky, transforms the environment like nothing else. As the dead grass slowly disappears beneath a blanket of white and barren tree branches begin to sparkle in the moonlight, the world is transformed. While the snow’s transformation is temporary and could dissolve with morning’s light, the forgiveness the Lord speaks of in Isaiah is of stronger mettle than snow. It is for eternity.
And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:11
Imagine an event so compelling, so captivating that you would leave your home for years, travel incredible distances, to simply greet its coming. The Magi traveled to acknowledge something not completely understood to them, but that which they knew was worth the journey. But these men who worked among princes, made ready. They did not did not stop with acknowledging Jesus, they fell down and worshipped, they opened their treasures to the Most High God. What worship, what treasures, can we offer our God who has given so much for us?
(a recipe of the season or a table to gather around)
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
Something special happens when we share a meal together. Time spent preparing, stirring, chopping, simmering and roasting, plates set out, drinks poured. Everything is special when preparing for time spent together. And God is there with us. In conversations shared, in tears spilled together, in food passed, in laughter bouncing off the walls. We were made for community, loving one another and sharing Him in life together.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20
You can learn a great deal about a person by looking at the ornaments on their Christmas tree: antique ones, handed down from generation to generation; handmade ones, from a beloved grandparent or child; purchased ones, specific to a memory, hobby, or occupation. Many of each of our ornaments also hold a deeper significance: they make us ready. They are small witnesses to every viewer of an eternal truth…God showed His love for us in this- Christ Jesus come to our world.
For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2
Wrapping paper is all about hiding the gift and keeping the surprise. How many different colors and patterns of wrapping paper are available to us today? They are beautiful and a blessing! It’s ironic, though, that the Gift given so many years ago, wrapped and lying in a manger, was hidden in not shine and glamour, but humility, in the lack of anything that would proclaim to the world His splendor or His majesty. But we know the secret- How majestic is His name in all the earth!
…every wild and tame animal, all reptiles and birds, come praise the Lord! Psalm 148:10
The only animals actually mentioned in the Christmas accounts are sheep with the shepherds and the turtledoves sacrificed for purification after Jesus’ birth. Animals were such an integral part of life then, though, that we can easily imagine a cow in whose manger Jesus was lain, a couple of goats, perhaps a donkey, and birds nestled in for the night. These are a part of God’s creation, and they watch and wait for full restoration in the New Creation alongside us. They proclaim God’s handiwork when we do not. Even they make us ready for His glory. Let all creatures praise Him!
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5
Who do you love to spend time with, especially during the Christmas season? We gather at church, we gather for parties, we gather in texts and through Facetime, with those we live near and far away. We were made to be together, to work together, to rejoice, to mourn, to learn and grow together. Thank goodness the same Spirit who calls us as individuals, also watches between us and gathers us together in Christ, to do His work and to share His love…and Make Ready together.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103
Who doesn’t love the treats given at Christmas from neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, or shared by children of all ages. They can bring back a flood of memories with just one taste. How much more can God’s Word, the joy of Christ spoken in love at Christmas, spark a flood of good things – peace, joy, assurance, and love! Make ready for His goodness this Christmas.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. Isaiah 11:1
Trees, in a lot of ways, tend to be the centerpiece of Christmas celebrations. And there are so many choices! Artificial trees, specially-colored trees, white trees, trees with pretend snow on them…all kinds! And that crisp aroma of pine still strikes a chord for many of us. Christmas trees are abounding in symbolism, but let’s remember today the way they point to life. In the dead of winter, when other trees go dormant, evergreen Christmas trees remind us of everlasting LIFE! Jesus came into a dead and a dark world. God made it ready for Him at just the right time. And here He spreads His Life and His Light. Thank you, Lord Jesus!