So be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.
~ Mary Oliver
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
The poet and the psalmist have the true message. We have to slow down to truly feel the loving touch of God’s hand. We are in the midst of this Advent season and are waiting for the coming. At first thought, the waiting should be in stillness and calm but that not the way it is at all. We are so rushed and busy with the many responsibilities and obligations of the season. There are gifts to buy, parties to go to, special church services to attend, and for most of us, Christmas will be a relief. It is a relief, because we can slow down and rest from the “holidays” that our world has created.
Let me urge you to think in a counter-cultural way. Try to see these coming days between now and Christmas day as a time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas is love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16) The true joy of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love. That is so easy to forget in the social cacophony of competing ideas that surround us. Let us resolve not to be carried away by popular culture or religious extremism.
A few suggestions:
Give something to a total stranger. (not just a homeless person)
Take the time to make eye contact and speak to store clerks who serve you.
Reaffirm your love(with words) to your family and friends.
Pay someone a compliment.
Share your belief in the love of the God of Christmas with someone.
Attend worship on Christmas Eve.
Don’t argue about Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
Reconcile with someone.
Spend a little time in silence every day.
Those are just a few of the many things that we can do in this season if we just slow down and look outside of ourselves. I am sure that you can think of some on your own, but you have to be still long enough to do so. I hope that you can find a way to grab the opportunities that come with the Christmas season.
Lord, there are times when I just want to ask your help so that I may just spend some time living like you. May I follow the example of Jesus as I share the love that was modeled by Him. Such a love is without strings or stipulation but merely a love that is waiting to be accepted. Let me reach out with open arms to all. May you guide in my decisions this season and allow me to be a source of blessing to those I touch.