Are You Ready for Christmas?

The closer we get to Christmas Day, the more you’ll hear this question:

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

What exactly does this question mean to you?

“Have you finished your shopping?”

“Have you wrapped all your presents?”

“Have you bought all the food you’ll need for that perfect Christmas dinner?”

“Have you finished buying those last-minute stocking stuffers?”

I think these are the thoughts that pop into our head when people ask, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

But deep down in my heart, I’m never comfortable answering this question. If Christmas is truly about the coming of Jesus to save us from our sins, then perhaps the question we should really be asking is this:

Are we ready for Christ?

Are we ready to humbly admit our need for a savior?

Are we ready for Jesus to continue refining the rough places of our ugly flesh?

Are we ready to surrender that one area of our lives that keeps tripping us up?

Are we ready to say yes to Him when our fear compels us to say no?

I’d much rather answer the questions about whether my shopping is done and if my kids’ stockings are ready (they’re not!). It’s easier to smile and say I still have that one last gift to wrap and those last few items to get at Kroger for our Christmas brunch.

But it’s much harder to admit that my flesh is still fighting against selfish pride.  Every. Single. Day.

I need a savior every moment of every day!

It’s hard to confess that there are several rough places in my soul needing a gentle touch and smoothing out by the grace of God.

I need Jesus to not only be my redeemer, but my holy refiner!

It’s hard to own up to the fact that I’m fearful of the unknown and what lurks around the corner of the next phase of my life.

I need the peace of Jesus to calm my fears!

Am I ready for Christ?


I’m ready for Him to take all the yucky, ugly, shameful, fearful things in my flesh and make them into something beautiful that only HE can accomplish. Yes, I’m ready. Because my way of doing things–apart from Him–doesn’t usually turn out very well.

On Christmas Day, the gifts will be unwrapped, the stockings will be emptied, and the food will be gobbled up. And just days afterward the tree will come down, the Christmas decorations boxed up and the after-Christmas sales will expire.

Nobody will ask you again until next year, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

But each and every day after Christmas, we must answer this question: Are you ready for Christ?

Ready for Him to interfere with your plans?

Ready for Him to lead you out of your comfort zone?

Ready for Him to take you to the next step of his purpose for you?

So dear friend, I ask you to answer honestly……Are you ready for Christ?

I pray God’s richest blessings upon you and your families. May you have a Merry Christmas! But most importantly, I pray you will embrace Jesus Christ every day of the year.

Ready for Christmas

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett


Peace in the Middle of Prison

Christmas 1994. This year stands out to me above all other Christmases I’ve ever experienced.

My life had fallen apart just six months prior. The tapestry of my heart had unraveled into tiny, fragile threads. My marriage had abruptly come to a halt and would soon end in divorce. My precious 11-month-old son held my focus while I was hurled into the world of single motherhood.  My heart ached so deeply. My son’s first Christmas was supposed to be happy and exciting, yet my emotions didn’t agree.

How would I ever survive this heart-wrenching journey in my life?

I’d hesitantly made plans to go Christmas caroling with a group from my church. We were scheduled to sing at the men’s prison in LaGrange, Kentucky. Exhaustion from working the night shift at UPS almost pushed me to change my mind and cancel.

But something in my spirit said Go Lisa……you will be blessed. 

So off I trudged onto a bus with about 25 other people. The prison building felt so dark and cold, just like the deepest corners of my soul. Once we were ushered through the iron gates by the security guards, our mission began. We had three specific places inside the prison where we’d stop and sing a few carols. As I stood there huddled up against my fellow carolers, my eyes locked with some of the prisoners. The only thing that separated us was the cold, iron bars of their prison cells. Most faces appeared stoic, rough and bitter. Some looked sorrowful. Others seemed to be covered with shame and guilt. My voice cracked because of the lump in my throat.

My heart feels so heavy…..Maybe I shouldn’t have come!

After our last song, we were finally led into the prison chapel. This would be our last stop. The prisoners gathered in this place were regular participants of worship services through the prison outreach ministry. They wanted to be here. No prison bars separated us from them.

These men looked so different than the others I’d just seen. I saw smiles on their faces and heard loud, boisterous laughter. Excitement bustled in that tiny chapel. We crowded together in hard wooden pews and we started to sing. But instead of singing to these prisoners, we sang with them. Our voices mingled together, belting out Silent Night and Joy to the World. The heaviness started to lift from my heart.

Finally one man in the back yelled out that he wanted to sing Oh Holy Night. We hadn’t rehearsed this song. Would we be able to sing it?

As these men began singing the first verse of Oh Holy Night, I could feel my heart almost skip a beat. Their voices rang out with such power. I looked around at these men’s faces and that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit speak ever so gently to me:

Look at them Lisa. Look at the JOY on their faces. Look at the sparkle in their eyes. These men have lost everything, yet they have something so real and powerful that can not be taken away.

And it struck me in that moment what these men possessed: peace…Here in prison!

It didn’t make sense. But peace is mysterious in how it passes all human understanding.  Some of them had served many years, while others were just starting out. But they all had Jesus. They’d chosen to embrace their relationship with HIM even though they were walking through the lowest valley of their lives.

The empty places in my heart began to fill up with something right then…..It was PEACE! And HOPE!

If Jesus could give these men peace in the middle of prison, then surely HE would carry me through the valley of divorce. It wouldn’t be easy, but I knew from that night forward, I craved the peace that these men had. I could trust Jesus with my life even though it felt so messy. He was more than able to take the broken pieces of my heart and put them back together into something beautiful.

I walked into that prison with deep hurt. But I left with dazzling hope.

I walked into that prison with gripping fear. But I left with glorious faith.

I walked into that prison with overwhelming pain. But I left with overflowing peace.

I might not be in a physical prison today, but I sometimes let the troubles of this life take me captive. When I find myself on that path, God gently reminds me of His faithfulness and He lovingly wraps me up in a blanket of peace that only He can give.

What about you, dear friend? Are there crevices deep in your heart full of hopelessness? Cracked places in need of repair? Empty places crying out for hope? Have you locked yourself into a prison of fear?

I urge you to humbly surrender these to Jesus…….the Prince of PEACE.


Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett


Four Ways We’re Just Like Mary

Even though I’ve read the Christmas story countless times, something fresh pops out at me when I’m still enough to seek the voice of Jesus.

Mary. This young, pure, innocent girl sometimes seems untouchable to us. Perhaps she’s put on a pedestal because she carried the son of God in her womb for nine months. Maybe we feel like we can’t relate to her because she was the one Jesus called mom.

But looking at her journey a little closer, I think we have MUCH in common with her.

*When the angel announced she’d been chosen as mother of the Messiah, Mary’s world was completely turned upside-down. Her life would never be the same.

Although we’ll never know exactly how she felt, I think we can identify times in our own lives when everything falls part and comes crashing down.  Is something coming to mind? Maybe you’re still wading through raw emotions of something recent that has turned your world upside-down.

*What about Joseph?  At first he did not believe her story. He couldn’t fathom that his bride-to-be was pregnant. She experienced great disappointment in someone she loved.  Although only for a short time, Mary’s pain had to be heart-wrenching.

Do we ever feel this way? Absolutely! Loved ones disappoint us. They break our hearts. Sometimes they betray us, leaving us all alone. A misunderstanding with a friend. A standoff with our spouse. It doesn’t matter if the time frame is short or long–hurtful words cut deep.

*Just when Mary thinks all is calm and everything’s going to be okay, the rug is pulled out from underneath her–again.  Like any pregnant woman in her last trimester, she was in that nesting stage–preparing every little detail to welcome Jesus into her world. (If you’re a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about). But no! Mary’s nesting moments were cut way too short. She had to immediately pack up only her essentials and follow Joseph on a donkey to a far-away town. She was interrupted and majorly inconvenienced.

We all can identify with this one. I for one do not like my plans to be interrupted (just ask my husband).  And if I’m really focused on a task, I don’t respond quickly to someone else’s request(just ask my daughter). How about you? What is your response to interruptions and inconveniences? Do our circumstances even scratch the surface of what Mary experienced?

*Mary probably had just enough time to accept the fact that Jesus wouldn’t be born in her hometown of Nazareth. Away from her family. Away from her friends. That was probably a hard pill to swallow! But her world was rocked…..again. Not only was she in a foreign town, but she went into labor. (Umm, Joseph? I think it’s time. Do we have a hotel reservation? )  This poor girl had been through enough already don’t you think? How much more could she take? As Joseph led them into a stinky-dirty stable, what must she have thought?  She had to let go of her expectations and accept the fact she was not in control. 

Wow. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle at times with expectations. For others. For myself. For God. And it’s hard to loosen the grip of control we crave so deeply as humans. Aren’t we all like Mary here? Don’t we have to constantly come face-to-face with our expectations and ultimately yield control to our creator?

So look at Mary again. Can you relate to her?

Her world was rocked.

Her heart was hurt.

Her life was interrupted.

She was not in control.

We are just like Mary.

If she was just as human as we are, then what made her stand out? What would move God to choose her?

We’re told that Mary had found favor with God. The Greek word for favor is actually grace in most translations. And the thing about grace is that God gives it to the humble. (James 4:6)

Because of her humility, God showered her with grace. Grace that would be able to withstand the turning of her world upside-down. Grace that would cover her wounded heart. Grace that would handle the interruptions. And grace so pure and powerful to recognize that God is in control and we are not.

I can so relate to Mary because she was human. But oh how I long to have her humility! A humility that beckons God’s grace.

My prayer for us is that we would truly find favor with God.

luke 130


Blessings to you, dear friend!

Lisa Preuett