Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas sweaters and rocks

You've probably heard someone share an illustration using a jar, a pitcher of water, and a pile of rocks of varying size and shape.  "Try to fit all of the rocks and the water in this jar," the speaker says.  At first glance, it doesn't seem possible.  The lesson is learned quickly that this is only possible if the rocks are strategically placed into the jar.  The big ones have to go first.  What are the "big rocks?"  They're our biggest priorities.

Once our big priorities are settled and in place, the smaller things can settle around them.  And there's still room to pour a little "water."  I've heard this illustration more times than I can actually remember.  It's so familiar, yet easy for me to brush off.  "Yeah, yeah.  I've heard that.  I know, I know."  But it's come back to me in the past month.  And I'm particularly reminded of it as yesterday was the first day of Advent.  The beginning of 4 weeks when we wait in eager anticipation of the birth of the Messiah.  I'm trying to be more intentional about truly waiting for the birth of Christ this year.  I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my struggles- I fall into the trap of busyness and the "hustle and bustle" (what a weird phrase) of the season.  Our family calendar does not have one free weekend in the month of December.  Ouch.  I see mugs and t shirts and bumper stickers with the Christian cliche "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and it makes me roll my eyes and possibly gag.  Just being honest.  Not that I disagree with the sentiment in any way, but for heaven's sake... But that's not my point.  Or maybe it is. 

I don't want to forget about Jesus.  I don't want to make him secondary in my holiday preparations.  Author Joanna Weaver put it so simply when she writes about this from God's perspective, "Take care of My business, and I'll take care of yours.  Make room in your heart for me, and I'll make room for everything else."  Step back, Mollie.  Lights and wreaths and trees and music make my heart smile.  But they aren't top priority.  Presents and wrapping paper and parties and tacky Christmas sweaters chocolate and red Starbucks cups are tons of fun.  But they aren't number one.  And I let them steal the number one spot sometimes really often, rather than letting them fall in place further down the list.   

There wasn't any room for Jesus when He was born.  I'm challenging myself to make room for Him in my Christmas this year.

What do you do to keep your focus steady during the hectic holiday season?

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