Monday, November 26, 2012

The Most Important "To-Do" on the List

This past week was busy and stressful trying to make sure everything was done that needed to be done for the holiday. The holiday celebration with family seemed to fly by so quickly, I hardly remember any of it. I was starting to wonder if there was a lesson I could glean from my running around and confusion before the holiday or the over-indulgences that followed when God seemed to speak to me through a familiar voice.

I've mentioned before that I’m a M*A*S*H nut. I own the whole series on DVD and have been known to watch through all eleven seasons more times than I can count or would like to admit. Today as I was considering what to write, I had it on in the background and heard a particularly inspiring message that seemed to put my whole week into perspective.

Father Mulcahy, one of the characters on the show, was addressing a crowd of people saying, "I want to tell you about two men—each facing his own crisis. The first man you know rather well. (He was referring to himself.) The second is a patient here. Well the first man thought he was facing a crisis. But what he was really doing was trying to impress someone. He was looking for recognition, encouragement, a pat on the back. And then whenever that recognition seemed threatened, he reacted rather childishly, blamed everyone for his problems but himself because he was thinking only of himself. But the second man was confronted by the greatest crisis mortal man can face—the loss of his life. I think you'll agree that the second man had every right to be selfish but instead he chose to think not of himself, but of a brother—a brother! And when the first man saw the dignity and selflessness of the second man, he realized how petty and selfish he had...I...I...I had been! It made me see something more clearly than I've ever seen it before. God didn't put us here for that pat on the back. He created us so he could be here himself. So that he could exist in the lives of those he created in his image."

Amidst the chaos that can sometimes be my life, especially around the holidays, I too often get caught up in my own schedule, in my own tiny priorities. I'm so busy looking at the details of my life on those days that I'm missing the whole picture of my life in the rush to catch up so I can relax later. This past week could have been about so much more than a list of things I needed to do before the office closed for the holiday, or the annual stuffing of the faces on Thanksgiving Day, or crossing off every item on my "to get" list during our family's "Girls-Only Black Friday" shopping trip. The Thanksgiving holiday is meant to call my attention to the abundance of blessings in my life, to give me the opportunity to share those blessings with others, and a reminder to praise the God who created me and blessed me with life, salvation, love, family, home, health, food, and so many other things I took for granted this week as I attended to the details.

In just a few weeks, we will be celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus and I want to do a better job of preparing for it. Yes, I will be rushing around again, trying to get things doen in the coming weeks - it's the nature of my responsibilities. But I hope to do a better job of making myself available for God to share himself through me with the world around me. I want to be more intentional and tenacious about setting aside time to rest and rejoice in his Presence throughout the days and weeks to come. I want to seek his will over my to-do list. I hope to prepare not just the trappings of the approaching holiday, but also my heart and mind to welcome and worship my Savior on Christmas Day. I hope you will consider joining me.

I'm fallen on my knees
desperate for Your embrace.
I'm giving You my heart, Lord.
I'm clinging to Your grace.
(From my poem "Clinging to Grace")


Common Household Mom said...

Well put. I think this is why God invented Advent, to make us slow down. But we humans are not too good at waiting! Next Sunday I am going to try to slow things down at the Hymn Sing by concentrating on Advent hymns/carols rather than rush right to the Christmas music.

Audrey said...

I too wonder if I sometimes rush around doing things for that proverbial "pat on my back", rather than to demonstrate the love of our Lord. I'm going to join you in examining my intentions as I journey through this advent season. Thank you for once again giving me some spiritual "food" to chew on!