Raise your hand if you feel like the holidays are some sort of bizarre mad dash where the finish line is a date instead of a place. Yeah, me too. This time of year is so busy! I’ve had a few conversations with folks lately about why the heck we put so much pressure on ourselves to check off some kind of list of activities that have to happen before Christmas. Buy the perfect gifts, make the perfect meal, bake the right amount of perfect cookies, send Christmas letters/cards, put up a tree, go caroling, etc., etc., etc. Lots of things on the checklist.
I’ve been thinking a lot about being busy this year–not because I’m so superly awesome at handling busy-ness and having margin in my life and resting. No, it’s because I’m superly not-awesome at being busy. I get stressed and demanding and I forget to take breaks. I’m not a fun person to be around when I’m too busy.
This week I was reading a story that’s pretty familiar to me but it hit me in a new way. Here goes: Jesus shows up at your house. He’s actually physically there, hanging out on your living room couch, and He decides, while He’s there, to talk about the Bible. So you have the author of the Bible actually explaining what He meant. With me so far? Do you A) sit down as close as you can get and ask questions? or B) go bake some awesome cookies to share?
I chuckled as I wrote those choices because I cannot imagine NOT sitting down and getting the scoop on how God designed things to work. On how I’m supposed to work. It’s Jesus! There are hundreds of questions I’m dying to ask Him: What was it like becoming human? How did He fully surrender His life to the Holy Spirit? Does He remember being born? Or being in utero? What’s His relationship with His human parents like? Why the heck did He allow various things to happen in the world and in my life? To name a few.
Anywho, I was re-reading Luke 10:38-42 and it hit me that that’s what Martha was doing. Jesus comes to Lazarus, Martha, and Mary’s house and Martha freaks out because she’s so overwhelmed with her to-do list and Mary isn’t helping. She goes to Jesus about it but Jesus tells her that Mary had chosen the good and it won’t be taken away from her.
As I read, I was reminded of the Israelites during the Exodus: reading how visibly present God was (pillar of fire/cloud) and how many miracles He did for them, I’m always amazed at how little faith they had. And then it hits me how little faith I have. God’s still the same God today as He was when He provided manna in the desert for forty years and yet I’m worried about how to pay our car repair bills.
Looking at Martha, I was reminded how easy it is for me to tell God that I am too busy to do my quiet time, that I’m too busy to pray, that I’m too busy to stop and sit in His presence and just bask in being His child. If Jesus was physically here, I’d put my whole life on hold to spend time with Him. Yet when I’m given the opportunity to study His Word and hear His voice through His Word, I skimp on my time or rush because I have so many other things to get done afterward.
The holidays are busy. I’m not trying to say we should deny the reality of the situation. Schedules and to-do lists get nuts. But we have the opportunity to be with Jesus, to spend time with the God of the universe and to hear His words. Let’s not forget that even when life is at it’s busiest.