Make Ready with a recipe or a table

(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.

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Make Ready with a favorite Christmas ornament

Treasures on a tree. #advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

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.

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Make Ready with wrapping paper

Wrapping paper, disguises, and surprises. #advent2016 #graftedheart #ilovemyshepherd

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!

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Make Ready with an animal

All creation, praise His name, for He has done wondrous things. #Advent2016 #ilovemyshepherd #graftedheart

…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!

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Make Ready with someone you like to spend Christmas with

[Dec15]

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.

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Make Ready with a Christmas treat

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.

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Make Ready with a Christmas tree

[photo; Dec13]

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!

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Make Ready with Christmas mail

[photo; Dec12]

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2

We are moving more and more to a paperless world. In some ways this is good – being conscious of our impact on God’s creation as His stewards is important and getting the message of Christ out in a myriad of ways is a good thing, but as we become entrenched in our digital lives, how much human connection is lost? God did not create us to be individuals, separate from one another. God sending Christ into this world is evidence that we were intended for relationship and connection. Jesus came to us, connected Himself to us in human flesh. Who can you Make Ready to connect with today?

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Make Ready with a stocking or socks

[photo; pub Dec11]

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7

Did you know you have beautiful feet? Even winter feet – dry, rough, and maybe even stinky – are beautiful! Why? Your feet carry you to share the Good News! They walk you to your neighbor’s door with a plate of cookies and a caring conversation. They walk you into the nursing home to sing Christmas carols for lonely residents. They walk you over to help the woman whose hands are full of packages and children struggling to open the door. Jesus gives you ready feet for this Good News each day. Your feet are beautiful!

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Make Ready with anything to do with baking

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman… Galatians 4:4

Baking can be an opportunity to slow down and contemplate a bit. It cannot be rushed. If you try to multitask while doing it, chances are something’s going to spoil or burn. The deliberate movements of measuring, pouring, stirring, dropping, rolling or cutting…there is a rhythm and a purpose to it that often is lost during the hectic chaos of this season. Contemplate for a moment the deliberate timing of Christ’s coming: the time, the place, and the people. For you, and for me.

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