Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come from the wedding feast, that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Luke 12:35-36 ESV
I would love to say that I am ready for Christmas. But, I am not. Sunday I pulled my tree out of its box, snapped its three pieces together, and plugged it in. The white lights flickered and then began to twinkle. A festive glow glimmered throughout the room.
I would love to say I grabbed one of the multitude of boxes of Christmas ornaments and went to town adorning my newly assembled tree. But, I did not. Instead, I grabbed my laptop and began grading papers and making lesson plans. For now, the tree would have to wait for another day, work was the pressing need of the moment.
I would love to say that this scenario is a new one for me. But, it is not.
The past few Christmases in our house have been sideswiped by unexpected, difficult, and time-demanding circumstances. Individually they don’t sound like much, but like compounding credit card interest they totaled a debt that completely depleted my emotional bank account. Honestly, I have been worn out. As a teacher by the time the semester ends at school (our last day was two days before Christmas Eve), I am too tired to take on the tasks of Christmas.
The sad thing is, by the time I have been home for a few days, have rested a little, and am ready to prepare for Christmas, it’s over. It’s frustrating. For the past several years, my energy levels haven’t matched my seasonal celebration plans.
I thought about my lack of Christmas ready as I read Luke 12: 35-36. I realized that I would not have been the ready- at- the door guy waiting for the groom to return. I would have been the scrounging- around guy trying to finish up a few loose ends before the master’s big arrival. The pressing needs of the urgent would have distracted me from what was important.
My season of weariness is teaching me that there really isn’t a best time (or enough time) for all the things we desire to do. Life can be exhausting. Work. Children. Home. Aging-Parents. Hobbies. Spouses. All of these things tug at our time. Like unwinding ball of string, each one pulls a strand of time (and energy) away from us until all that’s left are a few straggling strands of seconds.
In 2014, my word for the year was intentional. I chose it because I wanted to move beyond having good intentions; I wanted to be more intentional about my relationships and actions. I didn’t want important things to sneak up on me or worse yet pass me by leaving me unready for them. I wanted to manage my time instead of having time manage me.
It is now 2023 and I am still struggling with being intentional. Unlike the men in Luke 12, I have a propensity to let the urgent crowd out the important. If we look closely, we can find key to the men being ready; they were intentional about it. They stayed dressed. They kept their candles lit. They listened intently at the door for the knock.
Oh, how I want to be intentional about being ready for my Master. Unlike my lack of Christmas readiness, I don’t want the worries, stresses, obligations and hurts of my days to keep me from listening for my Lord. I don’t want to let weariness keep me from seeing Him around me. I want Him to fill all my moments. I want continuous conversations with Him to dance and flicker like Christmas lights on a tree. I want my desire for Him to crowd out the desires for myself. I want the importance of His presence to diminish the distractions that pull at me.
Like the men at the door, may we all be ready to open our eyes, hearts, minds and hands when our Savior knocks.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.