About this time of year, it is very normal to hear most people discussing how “busy” they are. They have so much to do…and so little time…(maybe we’re just not that good at living with real deadlines!)
I understand that many people like to go to some effort to make Christmas a special, family time of year…but I wonder if it’s time that we started to really weigh up the cost of that, and re-look at what that means and how we go about it?
Some people spend countless hours cooking and baking, shopping and wrapping, cleaning (before family arrive to find out how we really live the rest of the year) and all kinds of other once a year activities. And we have to do it all, with the busyness of everyone else doing the same. Here in Warrnambool, a quick trip to the bank that usually takes about 15 minutes for the whole round trip, can take an hour or more because of the increased traffic on the roads and line ups inside the banks. And nearly everywhere around town is the same.
I wonder how much of our “busyness” is simply a result of the choices we make out of our determination to make Christmas a great time for our family. I wonder…is it working? Or are we all so tired and annoyed that by Christmas Day, we can’t wait for the meal to be over so we can get all these people out of our faces and finally sit down and relax for a while. I also can’t help but wonder, if we wouldn’t all enjoy Christmas a lot more if we just decided to do a lot more sitting and relaxing and actually enjoying one another’s company? We would be far less “busy“, much more rested and far more ready and willing to actually engage with those in our lives in a much happier way.
Then there’s the whole financial aspect! All too often, we melt our credit cards in December, tapping and sliding the dollars away on extravagant presents we’d love for ourselves, for distant relatives we see once a year. Essentially, we are trying to ease our own guilt for not actually seeing them the rest of the year. We spend hundreds (or often thousands) on spoiling our kids, all in the name of making Christmas a “great” time of year for them…and it all might even feel kind of nice…until the credit card statement comes in at the end of January and we then have to beg, borrow and struggle our way through February, March (and maybe well beyond!) to repay all the money we spent that we didn’t really have.
Also, as a pastor in a church, I can tell you, that most churches struggle at this time of year, because the lowest income months of every year are November-March. It is not just finances that are difficult over this time, but also in Australia this is a peak holiday season…so many people are not around, and many of those who are around, don’t want to be…so getting anything done becomes quite a challenge.
On a personal level, I would love to encourage all believers, to take their time off from work or education, but please, don’t take a holiday from your spiritual life. God is not your job and he doesn’t want a holiday from you just because you don’t have to go to work or school. He loves you, is your friend and delights in the time you spend with him. Please, remember in this “busy season“, to make Jesus one of your choices. Remember to be active in the believer basics of daily communication with him through prayer, worship and the word. Remember to meet together with the family that God lovingly placed you in and to enjoy his presence on as many occasions as possible. Please, don’t take a holiday from God while you have the most disposable time on your hands that you will have all year, and then get caught up in the busyness of getting back into work or education and continue on in a well established lifestyle of poor habit.
Make your Christmas a truly great one, by sharing the joy of your intimate, personal relationship with Jesus with those around you. Lead your families in this and teach them to enjoy him without getting caught up in a commercially driven, hyper busy, super expensive campaign of “busyness” that leaves us all tired, broke and wondering what just happened.
Merry Christmas…be happy…and nice to each other.
Now here, enjoy a nice picture of a snow man…because it won’t be snowing here in the Australian Summer!