Tag Archives: busyness

Christmas Craze and Holiday Haze: Part 2

So I want to blog about busyness…the irony is I was too busy to blog about it last week and honestly, I’m really too busy to be doing it right now. Like I said, ironic.

Here’s the deal…we’re all too busy. All the time. And so when the extra celebrations, get-togethers, concerts, and parties begin to pile up; when the baking and shopping and decorating find their way onto our to-do lists; we blame Christmas. “This time of year is always so busy!” Well, of course it is! We’ve just added another helping or two to our already overly full plates! Listen, it isn’t Christmas’s fault!


So now that you have learned to just breathe and simply be kind (Christmas Craze and Holiday Haze: Part 1), here’s tip number 3 – slow down. I know, you just rolled your eyes at me, but I’m being serious. I have yet to discover a way to enjoy the Christmas season quickly or rushed. It just doesn’t happen. All good things must be slowly savored, and Christmas is the best of things.

Slowing down is something you have to fight for though. It won’t just happen on its own. You have to choose lazy Saturdays decorating and baking as a family. You have to let go of the work project in order to celebrate our Savior with friends. You might have to let company come over even if the house isn’t clean and choose relationship over reputation. You may have to use that last vacation day so you can carefully shop for the perfect present instead of quickly buying the first item that will do. And I KNOW you have to slow down to actually allow the truth of a Savior in a stable and a King come down from his throne to sink in and move us, maybe even change us.

It might be cliché to talk about the “reason for the season” but nevertheless, it’s true. In our busyness, we lose sight of Jesus. We lose sight of the meaning of Advent and the eager expectation and desperate longing for a savior (we’ll tackle that more next week in part 3). We forget what matters most isn’t the trees and twinkle lights, the wreathes or bows, the gifts or goodies, the concerts or caroling. No, it is Jesus. It always has been and always will be all about Jesus. Emmanuel. God WITH us. Incredible. Heaven truly came down at Christmas. Our task today is to join in bringing Heaven down each and every day. We simply cannot do that in a hurry. We won’t notice the Holy Spirit at work in or around us in a rush.


But if you just HAVE to hurry, if you just MUST be in a rush; may I suggest we take a cue from the shepherds. For they were in a hurry once too. Luke 2 describes the Christmas story we all know so well. The shepherds hear of Jesus’ birth from a host of angels and are terrified (can you blame them!). Once they gather themselves, the shepherds say to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:15b-16, emphasis added).


So this holiday season, slow down. Watch the snow fall. Listen to Christmas music. Enjoy a hot drink by a warm fire. Take in a favorite Christmas movie with the family. Schedule a random vacation day, sleep in, shop leisurely, bake joyfully. Slow down and give thanks for “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-11) But if you must be in a hurry, hurry towards Jesus.

Crashing into Christmas


If you are anything like me, you feel like you are running on nothing but fumes this time of year. I am sputtering and coasting and just hoping to make it to Christmas when I can crash in a heap of exhaustion from the days and weeks now behind me but still very much weighing me down. It’s the cumulative effect of days and weeks (and frankly months) of busyness – of ignoring the rhythm of rest my mind, body, and spirit require. It’s the impact of countless tragedies, magnified and intensified by the fact they occurred before Christmas. And so I limp through December, slowly and steadily (and crankily) moving towards Christmas. And then I crash. And I’m guessing I’m not alone…

But in the midst of it all remains the reason for this special time of year – Jesus. And I’m thankful that although each year I do a poor job of slowing down to connect with and honor him, he never fails to reveal himself to me. It seems that each year he shows up in a special and unique way and often through song. I’d been waiting to discover which song would strike me this season – which song would I suddenly find myself playing on repeat as I sing at the top of my lungs. (Music plus Jesus tend to have that affect on me.) And then it happened…driving to a family Christmas last Sunday morning “Light of the Stable” by Selah came on my radio and suddenly there was a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes.

Hail, hail to the newborn King
Let our voices sing Him our praises
Hail, hail to the guiding Light
That brought us tonight to our Savior

I almost pulled over. In all the busyness. In all my stress. In all of my sadness for those who are scared or suffering because of a recent loss or life change, there’s Jesus. There’s a Savior. There’s God with skin on. Straight from heaven to a lowly stable. “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given.” (Isaiah 9:6) And my voice raises in praise to Him. Hail Hail to the Newborn King!

Come now, let it shine so bright
To the knowing Light of the stable
Kneel close to the Child so dear
Cast aside your fear and be thankful

And I am deeply thankful. God took on flesh and dwelt among us. I could not comprehend his divinity, but He knew I could understand his humanity. So he drew close. “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation…God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things. (Colossians 1:15, 19-20)” Jesus enters the sad and scary places in our lives and brings peace and comfort. God crashes into creation. And yes, I’m thankful and hit my knees (Figuratively speaking, I am still driving after all).

Halle, hallelujah
Halle, hallelujah
Halle, hallelujah
Halle, hallelujah

So as I headed home for a much needed break from the busyness with time to finally focus on the meaning of Christmas, I knew that first I would run out of the fumes that had been precariously sustaining the frantic pace I’d been keeping, and I’d crash. Despite the mud and muck happening in my own life and the lives of many of those around me so poetically reflected in the drab, rainy weather outside, it was time to pause and praise Jesus Messiah. The ultimate Christmas miracle – our Savior born in a stable. And then I drove into my hometown and witnessed a much smaller miracle, but a miracle nonetheless…a thin white layer of snow covered the ground. Somehow the world seemed right again – brighter and more peaceful. Reverently ready to receive a Savior. And so as I pulled into my parents’ home, I crashed from exhaustion and from gratefulness. I crashed. I crashed into my Savior’s arms – sin forgiven. I crashed into Jesus – relationship restored. I crashed into Christmas. Peace on the earth. Good will towards men. Hope is here. Hallelujah.

Merry Christmas.

What I Learned on “Staycation”: Busyness Prevents Becoming Beloved

Last week I took a “staycation” – a week off of work to go nowhere and do nothing. And it was glorious. I slept in nearly every morning. I took walks in the middle of the day and stopped to chat with people I met with no need to rush home. I scheduled play dates for my puppy. I had leisurely, unhurried conversation with dear friends. I cooked. I cleaned. I read. I watched trashy day time television (ok, not proud of that, but it’s true).

Now, I must admit that as a child didn’t understand this concept. Nearly everyone I knew only took vacation when they were going somewhere, my family included. Vacation did not mean “not working;” it meant “travel somewhere new and different.” A guy I worked with at the local grocery store and the school custodian were the only people I knew who took time off of work without going anywhere. I thought it was weird. To those two men, I apologize! I get it! I needed a “staycation” because frankly I was just plain exhausted – too exhausted to do anything but just stay home. The pace of my life and lack of self-care had caught up with me.

Life moves so fast. Everyone is busy. But why? Why do I pack my life so full that the content runs off the edges, leaving no margin, no room for error, and no room for reflection? I have to admit that I like to be busy. It is a beautiful distraction from my own thoughts and easily allows me to deny various areas where growth and change are needed. It’s also a way to feel important and valuable, albeit not a very effective one. I so easily begin to define myself by what I do instead of who I am. This makes it so hard to say no and so hard to slow down and so hard to rest. But as I’ve said before, busyness is not a badge of honor. Busyness is another enemy of true identity in Christ. The loudness of my busy life easily drowns out God’s voice – a voice that I’m often too afraid to listen to, fearful of what it might say.


In my busyness, I so easily forget my true identity as God’s beloved daughter and need to find something to fill the void that is left by my forgetfulness. In the stillness and in the quiet I must face myself and my Maker. When I slow down, I must cope with the hurt and pain in my life – both caused by others and by my own sinfulness. But it is only in the stillness where I am able to hear God’s voice, claim my true identity, and receive His healing.


Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still and know that I am God.” And when Elijah was discouraged, God showed up in a whisper (1 Kings 19). And that voice I feared would meet me with condemnation and scorn? Well, instead it meets me with gentle grace and unfathomable forgiveness. Yes, it’s a voice that convicts and disciplines, but it does so with unending love and mercy. God’s voice is tender, patient, kind, slow to anger, and quick to comfort. The whisper of God’s voice is worth slowing down to hear for it speaks truth and breathes life into the empty void created by busyness. Only God can provide the value and worth I try to create on my own through constant doing. Only slowing down to listen to God’s whisper can provide the peace, security, contentment, and rest I so desperately crave.

Do you need a “staycation”? Is God calling you to slow down and listen for the whisper of His voice? What keeps you from slowing down and doing less?