Every season has its own craziness. We’re a people running fast and hard, a people doing and pursuing many things. Then you add in “the holidays.” I’m speaking of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but you can apply this to any season. It’s a season some of us look forward to; it’s one some of us dread. In either case, it’s usually a season we spend a significant amount of time planning and setting expectations for.
Yet our tendency in all the busyness is to leave God out of it. We intend to focus on and spend time with Him, but when we add more into our already busy lives, He often gets left out, pushed to the side. And we wonder why we end up drained and let down by the season.
Our problem is fairly simple. We want one thing, but we actually pursue something else. We want a God-focused holiday season, but we seek first the things of this world — everything the world says we should do and have for the holidays.
Several years ago I decided to approach the holidays differently, to stop the craziness and focus first on what really matters — or more accurately, Who really matters. I set my focus on Jesus, on the fact that He came — came to earth for us, to seek and save us. For Thanksgiving, I chose to focus intently and thankfully on all Jesus is to me. To do so I made sure my time with God and His Word didn’t get cut out. In fact, most days I allowed more time for it. I chose not to attend every celebration offered. I even shopped less.
The difference in my holiday celebration was profound. It was a God-honoring season that profoundly changed me. And it all happened because I obeyed one single verse of Scripture:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Simply put, seek God first! Put God first in your holiday celebrations and the things that matter, the things you will remember and relish, will happen as well.
I heard a phrase recently and it’s helping me make time for the things that really matter. It’s a phrase I intend to apply during the holidays: Choose your absence. In other words, decide what you will say no to.
I’ve taken a long look at how I spend my time, especially how I tend to waste time. One thing I discovered was how much time I spend on my computer / iPad / phone. I think we all underestimate how much technology is affecting our lives. I’m choosing to limit how much it dominates my life.
Choosing my absence has left more time to worship God, more time to sit in awe of who He is. It’s enabled me to:
“Be still, let go, cease striving and know that He is God.” (From Psalm 46:10)
The Choice is yours:
I ask you, what will you seek this holiday season?
Will you seek what this world has to offer? Or will you seek what God alone offers?
You can seek what God offers by undertaking an intimate pursuit of Him, by celebrating, worshiping and giving thanks to Him.
Maybe your new holiday normal should be less doing and more being:
more being with God,
more being still and thinking about God.
Maybe you don’t attend every event or say yes to every invitation you receive.
Maybe you choose not to run your kids to every activity offered.
Maybe you choose to spend time daily with God, making time to worship Him — to celebrate, think about, adore and rejoice (think thoughts of joy) for who He is and all He has done for you.
The season is coming. It will be here before you know it. Plan now not to miss God in it simply because you’re too busy or have embraced the world’s priorities for it. “Be still — cease striving, let go and know that He is God.”
Let the One who is the reason for the season be the One who is given highest priority in your holiday season. You will not regret it!