Christ­mas Rush or Christ­mas Rea­son?

Activated - - NEWS - By Vir­ginia Brandt Berg, adapted

A few Christ­mases ago, as I was stand­ing in the door­way of a de­part­ment store, en­joy­ing a lovely Na­tiv­ity scene in a store win­dow, a mother and her lit­tle girl came hur­ry­ing by. Catch­ing a glimpse of the beau­ti­ful scene, the child grabbed her mother’s hand and ex­claimed, “Mama! Mama! Please let me stop for a minute and look at Je­sus!” But her mother replied wearily that they weren’t even half through with their shop­ping list and didn’t have time to stop. Then she walked on, drag­ging her dis­ap­pointed daughter be­hind her.

The child’s words rang in my heart for a long time after that. “Please let me stop for a minute and look at Je­sus.” I thought of all the min­utes speed­ing by me that busy Christ­mas in the mad rush of life that is ac­cel­er­ated at the height of the shop­ping sea­son. How many min­utes had I spent shop­ping and buy­ing presents and pre­par­ing dec­o­ra­tions and food in the great wind-up to Christ­mas, and how many had I spent with the One whose birth and life is the true mean­ing of this fes­tive sea­son?

Je­sus is al­ways so very close to us. He is “at my right hand” and “closer

than a brother.” He is within speak

1 ing dis­tance. His birth is the essence of Christ­mas. His gifts to all—peace, love, and joy of heart—are the es­sen­tial magic of Christ­mas. With arms out­stretched He holds out th­ese gifts to us and says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and bur­dened, and I will give you rest.” But th­ese we will

2 never re­ceive if we forge on, end­lessly shop­ping, to-do lists in hand, too busy to stop and even notice He’s right there.

Like the old say­ing, “Dew never falls on a stormy night.” We rarely ex­pe­ri­ence the sweet­ness and joy of time spent with Je­sus while in an anx­ious and fever­ish rush of ac­com­plish­ment. But the dew of heaven and the blessings of Christ­mas fall peace­fully on our hearts and lives when we stop for a mo­ment to get quiet and re­mem­ber Him. To go on with­out Him is to for­feit the only real, last­ing joy and per­fect love that can be ex­pe­ri­enced in this life and shared for­ever.

Why don’t we stop and en­joy— re­ally en­joy—what Christ­mas means? Let’s cut down our task lists. Let’s en­joy the beauty. There are so many won­der­ful things about Christ­mas and so many beau­ti­ful things to see. It would be a shame to miss it all, wrap­ping this and wrap­ping that, rush­ing for this last thing and that, cook­ing and pre­par­ing so much for a feast, clut­ter­ing our Christ­mas with so many un­nec­es­sary things. And if we don’t stop to en­joy any­thing of life un­til after Christ­mas, the fury with which we pro­ceed will send us reel­ing into the New Year sigh­ing, “I just sur­vived Christ­mas!”

Je­sus came to bless our lives. That is why we have Christ­mas. He said He came to bring us life, and that we might have it more abun­dantly.

3 And the apos­tle Paul tells us, “We have peace with God be­cause of what Je­sus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Peace and life in all their

4 full­ness need not elude us. They are ours to en­joy this Christ­mas if we’ll give Je­sus a chance in our lives and a place in our hearts.

May we all take a minute with Je­sus. The true pres­ence of Christ­mas is found with Him. May the cel­e­bra­tion of His birth touch our hearts in a new way this year. May we learn more about the gifts He gave so long ago on Christ­mas. May we be a part of Christ­mas it­self by be­ing more like Him. May we stop and look at Je­sus.

Vir­ginia Brandt Berg (1886–1968) was an Amer­i­can evan­ge­list and au­thor. Read more about her life and work at http://vir­giniabrandt­berg.org.

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