One week until Christmas. How many more parties must be attended? How many gifts remain to purchase, make, or order? Christmas cards? Cooking? One week.
Do you feel the pressure? Even when we try to avoid being too busy over the holiday season from just before Thanksgiving until just after New Year’s, busyness seems to still find us. We can be as intentional as possible, but still get caught up in the chaos.
As the last-minute obligations weigh in on us, something has to give. Something has to go. What will it be?
I just "happened" to be reading Haggai this week. The message was amazingly appropriate for this time of year. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Haggai was a postexilic prophet, meaning he interacted with the Jews after their return from exile. The people had worked hard to rebuild their cities and their homes, settling back into life in the land of their heritage. But life was hard. It was chaotic. They seemed to continually be two steps behind in everything. So God sent Haggai with a message for them.
In all of their chaos they had neglected worship. Their houses were complete and beautified, but the temple remained in ruins. They worked hard day after day in their fields, but they neglected to rebuild the system into which they could deposit their first-fruits. Perhaps they intended to get around to worship when everything finally fell into place. Somehow, though, nothing ever seemed to fall into place. In fact, things kept getting worse. Only when they stopped, refocused their attention on their system of worship, and made God their priority once again did they begin to see their labor bear fruit.
Last week I had a lot going on. This week is no different. Last-minute Christmas gift sewing with the kids and projects of my own that need to be finished. Some house-cleaning. Some writing. Some other business. All things that must be done before Christmas. My natural tendency is to bury my head in the work and plow through, letting nothing get in my way. But that natural tendency always leads to disaster and failure. Like the postexilic Jews, I always feel two steps behind when all of my focus is on what I have to do. I know the better way, and in this busy time, my heart desires that better way. I want to keep my focus in the right place, on worship. I will not say I succeeded every day last week. I cannot promise that I won’t allow distraction at some point this week. But my true desire is to make everything secondary to worship of my Savior. If something does not get done, so be it. I want Him to be my priority.
What stands before you this week? What is threatening to distract your focus? Be intentional, my friend. Breathe in, breathe out. Clear out that temple. Worship. Then let everything else fall into place according to His will and desire.