I’m All Prepared For Christmas

This time of year is all about being prepared. Christmas has a deadline that seems to sneak up on most of us every year.

There have been years, like this one, where I have been prepared for Christmas. Coming down to the last few days, I’m not panicked about still finding that one main gift for Lily.

But this year may be more of an exception for me. I don’t remember feeling this ready for Christmas very often.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who has my shopping done by mid-September. But this year, I bought Lily’s main gift in early November.

That might not be early for some people, but for me that’s like buying Christmas presents in July – it was a very early purchase.

And I wrapped things up a full five days before the big day. For me that’s so liberating because other things are also pressing on me.

One thing I was not prepared for this week was my board meeting. I had all the reports and data ready for the meeting but it was the presentation, the flow of the meeting that I was not prepared for.

I thought I had scheduled enough time to put some thought into how long to spend on each section and item, and how to present one new thing I wanted to start with the board.

But I ran into a few unexpected and unplanned encounters and I was late. I was only prepared on paper and not completely prepared to lead that meeting.

As for how the meeting went, let’s just say I didn’t sleep very well that night and I was still kicking myself the next day.

The funny thing about being prepared for Christmas is that we know when it is every year. It comes as no surprise.

The stores advertise well and offer bargains before Christmas to get you to come in and buy your presents.

We’re also becoming programmed by the US to start thinking about Christmas shopping at the end of November. Canadian stores even offer Black Friday sales the same weekend they do in the States … and we don’t even have a holiday then!

There really is no reason not to be prepared for Christmas every year. Yet if we procrastinate, and finish just at the deadline, we probably won’t change. It will become our pattern and we’ll run the risk of not being prepared for Christmas year after year.

Here’s the thing:  Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ, His coming into the world. It may feel like a deadline, but it’s really a beginning – a beginning that leads to a deadline. Christ came into the world so that we could be prepared for the end of our time here. He did all the work for us by dying on the cross for our sin and rising to bring us a relationship with His Father. Our deadline is what we need to be prepared for and to not put off; we never know what tomorrow will bring. It’s the most important deadline there is for each of us. Be prepared; be prepared well in advance.

That’s Life!


Question: What’s the deadline that has you stressed right now? Leave your comments below.

How To Prepare For Being Startled

Some people get startled more easily than others. It doesn’t take much for me to jump when someone happens to show up in my office without me hearing them come in or seeing them out of the corner of my eye.


I don’t know why it is; I’m not a nervous person. But if someone appears out of nowhere and even says “hi”, whoa, that gets my heart pumping fast.

I remember years ago when I was a youth pastor, we would play a game called “Sardines”. It was a version of hide and seek, where we would turn out all the lights in the church, making it pitch black dark.

One person was “it” and his job was to hide. Everyone else tried to find him and then hide with him in the dark until there was just one person looking for the whole group.

During the game, I took it as my job to scare the life out of the junior high girls. I would go in a room and wait for a pack of girls to enter. They could see nothing but, of course, they couldn’t stop talking.

At a quiet moment, I would yell at the top of my lungs and, though I couldn’t see them, I knew by their reaction they had hit their heads on the ceiling they had been scared so badly … but that was a long time ago.

A few weeks ago, Lily and I were sleeping, pretty much sound asleep, when there was a loud crash. It woke both of us up. I definitely was started, but Lil … I thought she was going to have a coronary!

She couldn’t calm down after that; she was concerned that someone might be in the house. I tried to convince her that everything was alright, but nothing would get her to settle until I checked the house.

So I went to get up and that’s when I saw what had startled us and ruined our sleep. It was a wood valance that was over our closet doors. Apparently, the manufacturers thought that 3M made a double-sided tape that was strong enough to hold up a 6 foot light piece of wood … forever.

For whatever reason, the tape lost its grip in the middle of the night – at 1:57 am to be precise.

Though I wasn’t startled nearly as badly as Lily, being woken up at that time in that way got my mind going and I had a very difficult time getting back to sleep.

I think for Lily, her heart rate shot up so high so fast that it exhausted her and she fell back asleep rather quickly.

The effects of being startled don’t last a long time, but it probably take a few years off your life every time it happens. So my advice is be aware – always.

Here’s the thing: There is going to be a time when either we die or Christ returns that will definitely be startling. It will shake us all to the core, but the only way you will be able to get calm after that, the only way you will get peace is to know Jesus Christ as your saviour. Otherwise, that startle will be just the beginning of an eternity of fear. I suggest you prepare now if you haven’t already. Find out about Christ, who He is, what He did and how He can change your life.

That’s Life!


Question: What startles you? Leave your comment below.

Being Ready on Time

A while ago, Lily and I had a function we needed to be dressed up for.  I worked around the house in the morning, and wasn’t ready to go anywhere.  Lily, on the other hand, had already been out a couple of times that morning.

At lunch we made a plan to get out the door in 20 minutes.  Lily said, “I’m ready.  I just have to get changed, and I know what I’m wearing.”  Me?  Well, I still had to shower, shave, and I hadn’t thought of what I was going to wear.

Getting up from the table we both got busy.  By the time I finished my shower and was on to shaving, I heard a disturbing announcement.  The words were “this outfit isn’t going to work”.

I ignored the comment and kept going; I had a deadline to meet.  When I finished in the bathroom, it appeared that Lily had already tried on and rejected a couple of outfits.  I went straight to the closet, looked in, saw my blue suit and made my choice.  Lily was still deciding what to wear.

Given how we started, how was she panicking and I was right on schedule?  I think I figured it out.  It’s our approach to clothes.

When I looked in the closet and saw my blue suit, the only decision I had to make was which shirt to wear with it.  I have three:  a white one which was in the wash, a blue one which was not really appropriate for the occasion, and a grey one which would work just fine. It was that simple for me.

However, when Lily goes to the closet she sees individual pieces of clothing.  She has to determine which pieces might go together and look the best, kind of like choosing to purchase a new outfit.  She’s had the same clothes in her closet for some time and used them in different combinations, yet still she doesn’t think of what has worked before.  It’s a brand new outfit she is looking for!

I think that’s why there are so many women’s clothing stores in shopping malls.  Women are so used to looking for brand new outfits at home, the store becomes an extension of their home closet.

My solution would be to make an outfit playbook, like they have in football.  You lay out the outfits on the bed or put them on and take pictures of all the combinations.  Then, print them out and put them on your wrist band for easy access in making the call.  You just pick the combo that looks best to you given how you feel and how the defense is shaping up.

In the end, Lily found a combination that worked well and we made it to the function on time.  (I can’t help but point out that, despite how we started, I was still waiting at the front door for her – not that unusual.)

Here’s the thing:  We’re going to get ready for God.  Some will get ready quickly and some will take some time to figure it out.  But we will all get ready to meet God one day. I want to be sure that I’m fully dressed when the time comes and not caught still deciding about Him.  That will be one function I don’t want to be unprepared for.

Until Next Time!

Pastor Paul

Question:  If you stood before God today, and He said to you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”  What would you say?