Each Christmas I tell myself to not get caught up in the hurry and rush of the season. To keep perspective, to slow down, to enjoy the season. Listen to the music, celebrate Jesus, rejoice with others and really experience the joy of our Saviors birth. I don’t want to get so busy doing that I forget being. I want to be fully present this Christmas season without coming unwrapped.
However, at the "present moment," (no pun intended) I feel anxious about what still needs to be done, decorated, purchased and wrapped. What will it take to be fully present, in the moment, each day this Christmas Season? Here are three ideas I am trying to practice in order to be fully present this Christmas without coming unwrapped.
1. Be Thankful
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It was my daughters verse she read at Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and somehow found it’s way into my car. I have been turning that verse over in my mind for several days. I am confident that you can not come unwrapped if you maintain a thankful attitude. When my thinking is on thanking I have little room for myself.
2. Free Yourself
"When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down." Matthew 5:1 CEV. Counterintutive, isn't it? Jesus, God Himself, looked ahead saw a large crowd of people and headed for the hills! I, on the other hand, seem drawn to activity. I want to see what's going on. I want to be included. I want to see if I could do something that would help whatever the crowd is doing to do it better. It's hard to turn down an opportunity. Sick, I know, but a struggle none-the-less. How do we find freedom from our compulsive life style during this season? For me, it's making a a choice to move to the side of a mountain and sit down. Now that's freedom on a number of different levels.
3. See Clearly
Psalm 46:10a says, ”Let go of your concerns. Then you will know that I am God.” We leave the house singing “Silent Night” and return singing “I’m In A Hurry To Get Things Done!” We loose perspective in the parking lot, get mad in the mall, hurried in Hallmark and crazy in the car. Distraction, distress, and discouragement can consume us to the point that we miss things that are really important during this season.
The only way I really know how to find some clarity is to stop moving. I know that seems like common sense but I find myself struggling with it. I know it isn't true but in my mind Hurry = Accomplishment and Stopping = Lazy. So, in order to get some perspective I need to set aside moments when I tell myself "Craig, let go of your concerns." When I sit with nothing in hand (except maybe a cappuccino) and focus on a healthy perspective I find myself "knowing God" which is what He promises us.
How about you? What mindset do you need to have this season in order to be present without coming unwrapped?