Q: My husband and I both love Christmas and the holidays but are frustrated each year with not seeming to hear a personal message from God. What could be blocking us?
Assuming that each of you has a personal relationship with Christ, are active in a local church, and have no habitual unconfessed sin blocking you, I would urge you to consider the pace at which you are living the holiday season. In short, when it comes to spiritual awareness and depth, speed kills.
Pastor and author John Ortberg suggests that hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Responding to Ortberg’s question about how he could become more spiritually healthy, mentor Dallas Willard replied, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
Everything about the cultural Christmas is fast and bright and frenzied. The schedule is full, the stores are packed, and the activity level is exhausting to the body and numbing to the soul. Sprinkling oneself with a few minutes in God’s Word while immersing oneself in a flash flood of media and frenetic activity will simply leave our souls with an empty ache for more.
Our souls were made for God and anything less will simply not satisfy. Fast food may fill us up, but it won’t build us up. To make room for eternity, we must press the pause button in time.
Jesus’ visit to the home of his friends Mary and Martha in Bethany is a great reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in the details of life. In Luke 10:38-42 we find Martha over-exercising her gift of hospitality as she welcomes Jesus to their home. Irritated by Mary’s unwillingness to join in her busyness, she complains to Jesus, who gently rebukes her for majoring on minors and missing the thing that mattered most—His Presence.
Want to hear from God? Slow down. Say no. Skip some gatherings. Dock your phone. Find silence. Seek solitude. Take a nap. Get outside around a fire. Take a walk. Sing some praise. Take in the Word of God. Give voice to a prayer. Listen to His whisper. In a Martha world, have a Mary Christmas!