Have you heard or been asked this question recently, “Are you ready for Christmas?” This is a question only asked in December. Christmas purchases may start heavily in November, but concentrated focus on Christmas does not begin until December. Once Thanksgiving has passed and everyone has returned home and to work, thoughts of Christmas begin to heat up. Decorations come out of attics, closets and garages. Recipes are pulled out, Christmas cards are prepared, and lists are made and check marks applied. People are getting ready for Christmas.
The people of Israel also prepared for holidays. The best known of these holidays called feasts in the Bible, is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Have you heard of it? If not, I am willing to say you have heard of Passover. God commanded that the Passover be observed the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Observance has changed since God first gave His instructions concerning Passover and the feast, but one thing never changed. Regardless of timing, location and method, there has always been preparation. Every family had to get ready for Passover. The biggest concern, all homes had to be leaven free. Anything containing leaven of any kind had to be removed, even down to the smallest crumb. Leaven in Scripture is used to describe sin, so the removal of leaven was to symbolize a prepared heart free of sin ready to receive the Passover Lamb. I am sure each family had unique preparations just like we do today. The ladies probably wanted their homes arranged a certain way. The men could have worked on having the perfect wood for the fire that would roast the lamb. All I know for sure is that they all prepared so they would be ready for the time of celebration.
There is something else I know. That first Passover meal was different than any of the others that followed. It was real. The death angel really did come and passover the homes that prepared properly. Every Passover meal prepared after number one was only to remember the real one. Preparation for the real Passover did not start a few weeks or even days ahead. It was no different on the first Christmas. Very little preparation took place. Do any of us prepare to spend Christmas in a stall shared with farm animals? No, my brethren, that first Christmas looked nothing like the Christmases of today. I do not know how prepared Mary and Joseph were when Christ was born, but they were as ready as they were going to get. We have the luxury of knowing exactly when Christmas will happen and we still answer the, “Are you ready” question with, "No." We can prepare for Christmas however we choose, that is not important. What is important is the reason for our preparation. We first must know exactly what it is we are preparing for, our Passover Lamb. Without that knowledge, we will never be ready for Christmas or any other day on the calendar.