I'm sitting on a airplane wrapping up a 5 day vacation. We are returning from a visit with family to celebrate the holidays, and it occurs to me that it was a great idea to take a vacation in the middle of winter to Minneapolis. Even though it wasn't a tropical climate, after being in -4 degree weather, the 30 degree temperatures we are returning to will feel quite warm.
My parents always tell me that it doesn't feel like Christmas when it's warm outside. They've spent the past 5 years between San Diego and Dallas. I just don't think I'd mind not having sub-zero wind chills in December - nothing like pain to get one into the Christmas spirit, right? Regardless of the temperature outside, Christmas still comes, and I was reminded over the weekend that few seem to escape the overwhelming busyness of the season.
It's been a while since I've lived in a large metropolitan area around the holidays. One afternoon in Minneapolis we decided to venture to the mall to do a little gift shopping. Bad idea. I was shocked to see the parking lot so full, and I figured we'd have a good half-mile walk through the slush before we got inside. Fortunately, we found a spot a little closer, but it wasn't much of a relief once we were indoors. I'm female, so obviously I have some genetic defect that makes me enjoy shopping, but THIS was not shopping. People were standing in a line that consisted of an hour-plus wait to see Santa. Some carried so many bags, they couldn't fit through doors. Girls dug through a pile of sale jeans - on sale for $200. Two hundred dollars - on sale. Yikes!
It's tough to escape being busy during the holidays. A lot of people have to travel, there are Christmas programs to attend, work parties, gift exchanges, special church services - it's enough to throw off the usual routine. Being on vacation certainly threw off my routine, and I will admit that I didn't really take any time during any of the 5 days to spend time alone with God. It seems ironic that in celebrating Jesus' birthday, I forgot about Jesus.
So, maybe this is the 400th thing you've read in the last month talking about making sure to focus on the meaning in Christmas. Why? Obviously, we all, including me, need to be reminded on a regular basis, because we all get too busy! While I was writing this, I started to wonder, during this season of giving and wanting, what does God really want? What can I give him?
In a letter home to parents, my son's preschool challenged us to make sure and spend time with our children, even amidst our busy schedules. They pointed out that children can get cranky with their routines off and all our running around. Last week, I found that to be true. My three year old seemed to be in a bad mood all day. Finally in frustration I asked him "What do you want?!"
"I just want you, momma", he replied.
I sat down to read him a story, and as he cuddled up to me on my lap, his bad mood seemed to slip away. Wow, those teachers are smart!
Maybe you see where this is going. I really think I failed to give God the one thing he wanted on my vacation - my time. It's crazy to me how long it takes for me to learn things sometimes. Didn't I just write about this a week ago. Good thing God is gracious. Give him some of your time today. I finally did, and I feel so much better. (Also, I forgot my razor on my trip, so showering helped too :-)
Lord, thank you so much that it doesn't depend on my own amazing efforts to be close to you. Thank you for meeting me where I am at, and loving me at all times. Change my heart so that I continue to desire to spend time with you each day. Help me to spend quality time with my children as well - even when I am busy. Thank you for family and times of celebration. May we always remember why we are celebrating.