This year I was going to be ready . . .

I was eager to be out with the Thanksgiving orange and yellow and in with the Christmas glitz!

But the cold snap in the weather set me behind.

The summer’s wild grass was frozen in a small plastic pot I always set inside my large ceramic front-door pot. This was a North Pole kind of frozen.

No amount of boiling water—and I tried gallons—was going to loosen those roots so I could yank out the dead grass and replace it with some fresh spruce tops.

My neighbor had delivered some tops at my door one morning saying she had extra. (Something tells me five extra is quite the miscalculation, but that’s just like her . . . a generous soul.)

I was excited! It was perfect timing! I was itching to spruce up the front porch of my house that very day! 😉

That was 3 weeks ago.

Unexpected tasks, unforeseen needs, and all the daily surprises that show up like blinking lights put me behind.

One after another. Random. Unexpected. So frustrating.

So frustrating that I looked up frustrated on my favorite on-line word find when I have trouble finding just the right word. I found 42 synonyms. I felt them all. Defeated. Upset. Irritated. #42 was perfect: pissed.

I decided to put the spruce tops in water using our old five-gallon car-washing bucket. Lovely. 

Please don’t die!

And the frozen pot? I shaved off the top of that hairy beast, threw it to the wind, forcefully, and stuck the pot in the garage.

Then came the trip to the garden center for some nice, soft dirt. Which, by the way, is only found in small quantities this time of year. At least where I live.

The Grinch in me was coming out.

This was becoming an ugly, merry Christmas scene. 

What’s my problem? Why can’t I find some time to stick a few branches in some dirt and call it a day? Christmas is almost here and I won’t be ready! I hate being unprepared!

That was it. That was the frozen kernel of what was going on.

I wouldn’t be ready for Christmas. 

Everything needed to be positioned. Orderly. Ready. Prepared.

I sat looking at that orange bucket of spruce tops when a still, small voice broke through . . . 

Just how prepared was everyone for that first Christmas?

Hmmmm . . . there wasn’t even a decent room, much less a spruced up, decorated porch-pot that welcomed the weary travelers that first Christmas.

Nothing was orderly or positioned. Some straw here, a trough there. It would have to do. 

Is any mother-to-be completely ready when the baby is ready? Isn’t it more like, Ready or not . . . here I come!

Baby’s don’t usually wait until we have our act together. Come to think of it, most of what comes to us in life doesn’t wait for the best time to make an entrance.

Christ(mas) was coming no matter how prepared things looked.

Mary and Joseph entered the exact time and space as ready as they could possibly be.

I think they had been working on their hearts from the first day they heard the news.

Were they ready? I think so.

With nervous reverence they had been preparing their hearts for nine long months.

That miserable frozen pot was a small peek into my own heart. I had let the cold settle in and was caught believing the illusion that outward readiness was a sign of inward preparedness.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m all for the sparkle. I love all the glitz.

But I couldn’t overlook my need for a more prepared heart this Christmas.

I finally got the spruce tops in some soft, new dirt. I even added a few lights. 

I had more sparkle in mind, but I stopped and I left a few things undone just to help the point stick—

Being prepared on the inside was worth more than all the well-placed trimmings on the outside.

And guess what?

After all that, the glorious white snow covered up the sparkle

and encased the prickly pines.

It looked like I had done absolutely nothing!

But that’s okay.

I’m ready.

Hope you are, too.

No new books this post to share with your little ones.

Instead, snuggle in and share your favorite Christmas story

in your own words from your heart.

Before you go . . .

Check out The Shepherd and The Messenger .

Prepare your heart along with those at the first Christmas.

*Download THE CHOSEN app for free access.

*Also available for free on Angel Studios and Peacock

Merry Christmas to you and your littles from us and our grand-littles!

7 thoughts on “READY OR NOT

  1. Judith Erickson says:

    Love this writing of yours. Judy duCharme has written about a water buffalo for Christmas. I am going to try to read it to Svea this Christmas. Judith


  2. Mary Fredricks says:

    You’re right on Karen! I’m just ready to send this and wouldn’t you know…it all got deleted!🤪 Something or someone always tangles and knots us up! Most of us are in the same boat…never ready on the inside or outside!! A gentle reminder-the most precious things in life cannot be built with human hands or bought with money.
    “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:23
    May God bless you with a wonderful new year of peace and happiness!


  3. Deb says:

    Hi Karen, I was maybe one day better prepared than you….but only on the outside! Thanks for your message on preparedness, and bringing to light what’s most important. On this Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas to you and Randy.


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