The Master of Preparation

The Master of Preparation

The build up to Christmas seems to be an endless list of things to prepare. Gifts, wrapping, cards, decorations, food, plans – there are so many things to get in order before Christmas day finally comes upon us.

The shops are all too aware of this and they get their Christmas decorations up early to remind us it is time to start prepping and, if possible, buying from them. Whilst I appreciate most people get frustrated seeing Christmas decorations in shops as early as October, I quite like it. Only because it is a good reminder to get the Christmas cake baked, which apparently needs a good two months to mature and taste its best for Christmas day!

This year I thought I’d been fairly well organised. I tend to give handmade presents to all the adults in our family and so early preparations are key, especially when enrolling young children to help with things like painting. By the end of November all the necessaries had been sourced, the children’s Christmas presents had been bought, I had the Christmas grocery slot booked for a reasonable hour on the 23rd Dec, the Christmas cake and pudding had been made and were now sat in a cool dark place… But then someone mentioned how they’d written a dozen Christmas cards and it occurred to me I have not even bought Christmas cards yet, never mind started writing them.

However much I would like to think the title of this blog refers to me, sadly it doesn’t. While I may get some things done excessively early, there are still things I forget and end up leaving until the last minute, if they even get done at all.

When trying to remember all that needs to be done in the build up to Christmas, we are also reminded to remember “Jesus is the reason for the season” and to spend time contemplating that special moment in time when God came and visited us in his flesh.

Feeling inundated with all the preparations in the build up to Christmas Day, I took some time out to contemplate that special moment. And it occurred to me that so much had gone into that one day when Jesus was born to Mary. God had started planning and preparing for that occasion thousands of years before, from the moment sin first entered our world through Adam and Eve. Jesus was the promised man who, through giving himself in love, would defeat the curse of sin.

God initially prepared a new nation through whom Jesus would come – Israel. Then sent prophets to warn and prepare the hearts of that people. He disciplined Israel through exile and foreign occupation. In time, God positioned his angels and indeed the very stars themselves, all building up in perfection to that wonderful first Christmas.

Everything was flawlessly put in place so that the many prophecies in the Old Testament, all pointing to Jesus coming, were fulfilled – born in Bethlehem, to a virgin, of the tribe of Judah and from the line of David. Even the devious attempts of King Herod, to thwart the plan, were accounted for.

God truly is the master of preparation. And his preparations have not ceased. As great the efforts were that went into that wonderful moment when Jesus first came as a helpless babe, so too are great efforts being made for Jesus to come again on the clouds as a King in glory. The hearts of millions of men and women are being shaped and transformed in readiness. Even now Jesus is preparing a place for those that trust in him; he is also preparing a place for Satan and his angels, on that day when evil is finally stopped forever.

Instead of adding “think about Jesus” to our list of preparations for Christmas this year, I would encourage you to think about him *as you prepare*.  God can empathise with all our prepping. He commanded the Jewish people to go through a day of preparation every week to make themselves ready for the sabbath – perhaps because he wanted them to better understand his own heart in making all things ready for us. This December, as you wrap, write, cook, buy and show hospitality, think about the master of all preparations who works all things together, to come to fruition at their appointed time.

P.S. Some of you may wonder what happened to part 2 of the series I just started on our thought life. It has not been forgotten, just put on hold for the festive season. You can expect “Thinking Well – part 2” to be published in the new year!

 

Homemade Christmas gift ideas: 

Fudge (this recipe from Nigella is easy, tasty and adaptable)

– Roasted Spiced Nuts

– Mulled wine kit (you can dry your own orange and apple segments very easily in the oven)

Honeycomb in a tin or bag (it is cheap to make and who doesn’t love it – don’t make it too early though or it will start to deteriorate)

– Homemade Christmas Pudding (love this recipe by Delia)

– Scented bath salts (add essence and a little colour to ordinary bath salt and put in a jar tied with ribbon)

– Homemade soap

– Hand painted plant pots

– Hand painted tote bags (use fabric paint and iron to seal)

– Homemade Christmas tree decorations (use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of air dry clay and poke a hole in the top. Once dry paint and add glitter, then tie with a ribbon).

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