As my schedule has whisked me down the river of life this holiday season, I’ve come up against a thought – that I’m still sorting through – but maybe it will help you too.
I was thinking of how busy-ness has seemed to control many of my waking moments lately. Normal things that keep life busy from January through October continue: laundry, dishes, church commitments, doctor/dentist appointments, planning Sunday school lessons, (Yes I’m old! It will always be Sunday school to me no matter what you rename it!) grocery shopping, quiet time with the Lord. Add to that holiday baking, Christmas parties, meal planning and prep for big family gatherings, shopping for presents, wrapping presents, hiding presents… and every minute of every day seems to be taken, leaving me to fall into bed at night. Instead of visions of sugarplums (whatever that is!) I have stressful dreams of all that’s still on my “To Do” list, and I wake up running to see if I can conquer it all.
I find myself so busy planning it all that I’m constantly thinking ahead.
I had a bit of an epiphany at my grandson’s birthday party. (As if holidays weren’t enough, my grandson’s birthday and our anniversary are both within a week of Christmas!) As I sat for a moment in our local kid’s museum watching my grandson and his buddies run from exhibit to exhibit, I got a text. I glanced at it to find a question about business details for our women’s ministry. I shot off a reply, realized another lady needed to be in the loop, texted her, and several minutes later “woke up” from virtual world to realize none of my crew were nearby.
It was probably only 2-3 minutes that I was zoned out in another world, but I realized in that moment that I had missed a few minutes of my now 9 year-old grandson’s life. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things. He wasn’t hurt with me. His parents and Papa and other adults were there, so he was safe, but I had missed out on precious moments I could never get back. Had he done something brave or cute or novel that I will never have a memory of because I was distracted? I was so busy living for future events that I wasn’t living in the moment. It was then that my wandering thoughts of the last few weeks became crystalized in the word “present.”
God whispered to me. “Be present. It’s not about the presents. Present to me your heart.”
Although that was His short message to me, it came to my heart with intricate insight and depth. Some of it so personal and intimate I ponder it alone, but the other concepts are needed by us all. So I challenge you this holiday season to those 3 things!
1. Be present in your life. The past is gone, never to be recaptured. The future is yet to come and none of our worrying will change it; only our prayers and our obedient submission to carrying out the Lord’s will can affect the future.
Life is a vapor.
Treasure and savor those precious times with family and friends.
Put the phone away.
Save business times for business hours.
2. It’s not about the presents… or the shopping, or the baking, or the decorating, or what others expectations are…. It’s about Jesus! It’s about His great gift of His Son our Saviour. It’s about His love for us, and by extension our love for the people around us. It’s about peace and a heart fully resting in Him for your joy and affirmation and contentment. All your holiday prepping cannot buy you these intangible gifts of the soul.
3. Present your heart to Him. While many things seem urgent during the holidays, only one thing is needed, to sit at Jesus’ feet. To be loved by Him, to learn from Him, and to experience all he has for us. As Jesus reminded Martha of this, we need to be reminded too.
Mary… sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made…. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:39-42
There is a time for preparation, but are we so caught up in the preparation that we are sacrificing time with our Savior? This Christmas I challenge you to focus on Christ. Spend sweet time at the Savior’s feet. Let Him dictate your calendar and schedule. Enjoy! Savor! Let Him fill your empty heart!
The present day, the present moment in time is God’s gift to us. We may never have another, and we definitely will not have one exactly like this. Therefore, let us live in it and use it wisely – loving and participating and experiencing all He has for us! Live this Christmas as if it were the only Christmas. Celebrate the birth of our Savior and live out all that His life represents. Be that light to a world that needs hope, unconditional love, and the light of Christ in their lives. Give the gift of Jesus!