What Goes?

Boat on Lake

Ok, so we’re busy. Duh! Tell me something I don’t already know Ray. Work is a bear, our commutes suck, we are running the kids all over creation to appointments, meetings, practices, parties, events; not to mention our own appointments, meetings, parties, events, etc. You know your list. I have mine.

Now it’s Christmas! What? Christmas, REALLY? How did that sneak up on me again this year? So now, there is shopping, wrapping, planning, more parties, etc., etc., etc.

If you’re anything like me, you just pile it on and get it done. Right? We can do this. We’re modern American suburbanites and we can take whatever the world throws at us, including Christmas. Bring it on!

This year, though, I noticed something … I am a bit tense all the time. What’s going on with that? What is that anger lurking under the surface? Focus, Ray, focus. Focus, really? I seem to be going in twenty different directions at once. I am “handling” it on the outside but inside … well, that’s another story. And, it’s Christmas. The busyness and stress that normally comprises life seems amplified and distorted.

This year, I have taken a few steps back and asked a couple of basic questions … Where is God in all of this? Where is my heart? What happened to the Joy? What has happened to the Wonder of the birth of Christ? Where has it all gone and, more importantly, how can I get it back?

Taking a deep breath, I remember something I was reminded of recently … “What goes?” My heart does a little fancy two-step of hope within me! “What goes?” What can I let go of? Jesus, what do you want me to let go of? Do I really need to do … [fill in the blank]? Do I really need to go … [fill in the blank]? Do I really need to … [fill in the blank]? What can I leave behind? What can I unload? What can I release?

Just allowing myself to ask those questions stirs a hope in me that Christmas won’t just fly by … here, hallelujah and done. Hope that Christmas will be filled, not with lots of stuff, but with the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Filled with the relationships that mean the most to me. Filled with life abundant. Isn’t that what Christ offered us in John 10?

Hope continues to rise within me as I say to my wife … “Honey, do we really need to go to that party next week?” Wow! That felt really, really good!

May God truly bless us, everyone! And may we have the strength to let him. Godspeed and Merry Christmas!