December 17, 2010
The Hush Among the Hustle
"But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings) weighing and pondering them in her heart." Luke 2:19 (AMP)
"Come on! Move quickly kids or those popcorn balls will harden before they're formed!"
"Step on it! The live nativity is about to begin and we want a front row view!"
"Hey, can someone get the door already? FedEx is here waiting for a signature on those packages!"
Dash; dart; hurry and scurry. The hustle amidst the holidays causes our stress levels to sky rocket and sets our Santa caps spinning. With added activities and gift-buying responsibilities on our December day planners, we find ourselves on a seasonal treadmill lacking any "slow down" feature. Instead, it only boasts a crank-it-up knob that somehow seems to be twisting itself!
I've often wondered why at this magical time on our calendars, our hearts don't always shoot to the "merry" stage on their own. Rather, they often migrate to the "weary" zone as our seasonal responsibilities parade through our minds. You know, instead of the visions of sugar plums that are supposed to be dancing there about now! Our minds swirl. And our hearts sink.
But when I stop and remind myself that Christmas is like everyone I love all having their birthdays on the same day—oh and they are coming to my house and expect it to be lavishly decorated, complete with a gourmet menu AND a twinkling tree standing in the middle of my living room—well, its no wonder my holiday cheer turns to holiday fear!
This festive frenzy is really nothing new. Even in the account found in the Gospel of Luke during that first Christmas in Bethlehem, urgency was afoot. A quick read through chapter two finds an angel abruptly appearing, a heavenly host "suddenly" filling the sky, simple shepherds deciding at once to go examine the scene for themselves and the words "so they hurried off" chosen to describe that investigative journey.
However, smack dab in the center of that fast-paced story we find two simple words:
When the mother of the baby King is mentioned, the hustle halts. She isn't depicted as scurrying and hurrying. Nope. She is weighing and pondering. Her contemplating goes beyond the commotion, right to the heart of what the hustle is all about.
Jesus, the Savior of the world. The hope for the heart-broken widow; the rest for the worn-out woman; the answer for the maxed-out mom; the truth for the tormented; the way for the wayward; the only calm in our chaos.
Weighing and pondering.
Could we do the same? Could we dare find calm in the Christmas chaos? A holy hush among the hustle? More importantly, could we model for the wide-eyed kids in our lives just how to slow down and, like the Wise Men of old, actually look for the Savior? Here is one idea to try:
Have one evening where you use no electric lights, but do everything by candlelight. Prepare dinner by candlelight. Eat by candlelight. Wash the dishes by candlelight. Get ready for bed by candlelight. Then, set the family on the couch and read (by flickering flame, of course) 1 John 1:5, "God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all."
Talk about this truth. What would our lives be like if we had no lights to use? Discuss also where we'd be if we didn't have the light of Christ, sent to us as the baby in the manger so many years ago. For a memory-making conclusion, prepare a thermos of hot cocoa for the troupe, hop in the car and go look at your town's Christmas lights.
Pause. Ponder. Wait and weigh.
If we are intentional, as was Mary, we can suspend the season for a flickering moment; discovering Christ in the chaos and experiencing a holy hush among the hustle. Then, when the last strand of lights is taken down and the fruitcake is finished, we can look back on a Christmas season that was blessed, not stressed!
Dear Lord, calm my anxious heart. Whisper to me in the holiday hustle. I want to experience You afresh this year. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Homespun Memories for the Heart by Karen Ehman
For more ideas of focusing on Christ with your kids this month, and to be entered in a Cool Christmas Basket giveaway, visit Karen's blog.
Pursuing the Christ: 31 Morning and Evening Devotions for Christmastime by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
Advent: Making Christmas about Christ, A four-week devotional by Lisa Robertson
Are there some spots on your schedule where you could gear down from the break-neck speed of the holidays in order to be quiet and intentional? What will you do? When will you do it? Write it on your schedule now.
Why does it go against the grain of society to slow down and savor in December?
Do I have a fond memory of the holidays that has to do with reflection rather than activity? With hushing instead of rushing?
Psalm 46:10, "Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!" (Amplified)
© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 17 December 2010.