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Christmas Joy

In 1967, Charles E. Hummel published a small book entitled, Tyranny of the Urgent.1In it, he asked if we’d ever wished for a 30-hour day. “Surely this extra time would relieve the tremendous pressure under which we live. Our lives leave a trail of unfinished tasks. Unanswered letters, unvisited friends, unwritten articles, and unread books haunt quiet moments when we stop to evaluate. We desperately need relief.”

Hummel goes on to answer his own question. “But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn’t we soon be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four allotment?”

This Christmas season we’re probably all wishing for more time, more money, and more energy. We worry about things that are nearly out of our control and things that we should have had more control over. Do we have enough presents for each of our children/parents/grandchildren/neighbors/co-workers. How can we make it to the Christmas pageant at church, cook all the food for Christmas dinner, and find time to visit grandmother in the nursing home? And there’s that nagging fear about the credit card bills due to drop in January.

When was the last time you stopped and thought about the miracle of Jesus’ birth? When was the last time you looked at a baby and wondered anew at how God could send his son to a dirty barn to be born to a teen-age girl? When was the last time you looked at a star and thought what a fitting global positioning system that was for the magi?

It doesn’t get much simpler than this: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV).

Put down your lists and stop wrapping your presents and share the Christmas story with someone you love. Keep it simple. God did. When the angels appeared to the shepherds on the hills of Galilee, they weren’t given a deep study into the plan of salvation. The angel calmed their fears and told them the good news of a savior who was born nearby, who would bring peace and good will to men. They believed and rushed to see the baby.

I recently heard my son explaining the birth of Jesus to my 4-year-old grandson. The description of the stable was an easy one for Brandon to visualize because they have a chicken coop. Although kept quite clean, no one Brandon knew would want to be born there. He imagined the chickens clucking and wandering with curiosity near that tiny baby and then all the farm boys coming in to visit. The same angels that protect him every night, that surround his bed, were also there singing for the baby.

Where’s your wonder? Have you replaced the feeling of wonder with the tyranny of the urgent? Are you so important and have so many things to do that you don’t have time to refresh your spirit and remember God’s special gift?

“Over the years the greatest continuing struggle in the Christian life is the effort to make adequate time for daily waiting on God, weekly inventory, and monthly planning,” wrote Hummel. “Because this time for receiving marching orders is so important, Satan will do everything he can to squeeze it out. Yet we know from experience that only by this means can we escape the tyranny of the urgent. This is how Jesus succeeded. He did not finish all the urgent tasks in Palestine or all the things He would have liked to do, but He did finish the work which God gave Him to do.”

Dee Litten Whited writes from the U.S. East Coast.

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About Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

writes from Virginia.

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