READY FOR CHRISTMAS?
With the official beginning of the Advent season now upon us, many have begun their Christmas preparations in earnest. Setting out decorations and replacing dysfunctional light strands, getting serious about all of the gift shopping left to accomplish, figuring out which holiday parties and events you can make or will have to miss, and possibly finalizing those travel plans.
It seems like just a few months ago we were packing away our decorations, and I resolved that next year I would be better prepared. Slow down. Actually spend Advent as a time of spiritual preparation for my family and me. Now, with Christmas officially less than a month away, and a to-do list that is hitting a seasonal growth spurt, I find myself in a familiar rut.
I often underestimate the power of busyness, especially when busy with good or necessary things. And therein lies the challenge — one worth the struggle. How do we accomplish the urgent and seemingly important tasks of Christmas preparation without neglecting the things that somehow seem less urgent, though deep down we know them to be more important?
My nature is to believe that if I were just more organized, I could get it all done (and there may be some truth to that). But this may be missing the point… or if not the point, at least a major point. I’ve often said that — within the boundaries of what He has commanded or prohibited — God is more concerned with why (for His glory) and how (with love) you do something than what you actually do.
Part of the answer to this annual dilemma may lie in accepting that we won’t be able to get everything done, but that everything we do will be done in such a way as to honor the Lord and show love to others (Colossians 3:23). We still need to prioritize and attempt to make the best use of the time we’ve been given, but we can also find meaning in trivial tasks and burdens that are done in a Christ-honoring way.
This year, I will continue to manipulate and reorganize my task list. And I won’t give up the pursuit of quiet times of reading, reflection, and prayer focused on what it means for God to become a man, dwell with us, and die for us. But when faced with a never-ending stream of busyness, I will seek to redeem the time and determine that whatever I do — sacred or secular — it is for Him.
— Josh Hall