As a writer I try to stay away from clichés, they drive me up a wall! (Oops! I think I just let one slip into my writing!) A cliché is a trite and over-used phrase. I’m going to share one with you that’s often used around Christmas-time. We frequently hear of “the hustle and bustle of Christmas.” Ooh! It hurts to use a cliché, but the pain’s worth it. I’ll explain.
The pace of life seems to pick up around this time of year. Parties, programs, family gatherings, and shopping conspire to keep us running. The increased traffic is maddening. Those of us involved in ministry in the church, ironically, have all of the church’s extra activities and services to throw into the yuletide mix.
What’s a person to do?
I like what Dallas Willard said to John Ortberg. “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry.”
And just how do we do that? I suspect it’s unrealistic to remove a significant amount of activity from the Christmas schedule. A better way is to practice a slower-paced attitude. The Biblical idea of peace is not the serenity that comes from a lack of conflict or activity. God’s idea of peace is the kind of serenity we can experience in the midst of conflict and busyness.
Jesus seemed to accomplish a tremendous amount in three years of active ministry, but you never get the sense He lived a hurried life. He didn’t find peace in the world, He brought peace into the world! I want to be a little more like Jesus in this way, you too?
The real peace of Christmas, or of any time for that matter, comes from within. If God could be at home in a manger, then it shouldn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to believe He wants to be at home within each of us. Imagine, the Prince of peace dwelling within us, giving His princely guidance to our thoughts, our attitudes, our feelings!
Yes, we have people to see, places to go, and things to do this Christmas season, but we can practice being aware of His presence leading us all the way. Faith in the flurry of activity is what we need.
One of the best gifts we can bring to those driven to yuletide distraction is our peace-producing presence. So, how about taking a deep breath, pause a moment, ask the Prince of peace to regain rule over us, and be prepared to give the gift of peace. It’s one of those gifts, by the way, that boomerangs!
(Photo taken a few years ago of decorations in a local greenhouse)