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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Make Time for a Holy Pause

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? Christmas is often a study in contrast for me. In spite of the joy it brings, it also tends to be very stressful. Several unpleasant childhood memories usually revisit me during this season, and the chaotic hustle and bustle annoy me.

During Advent, it’s common to hear challenging messages from pastors and priests urging us to slow down, enjoy the holiday season, and remember the real meaning of Christmas. But they also remind us of the Christmas programs and rehearsals, all of which we need to attend. Don’t forget, we also need to invite all of our busy friends to join us too.

I’m not Mr. Scrooge, I promise. Humbug is the furthest thing from my mind when I learn how churches and parishes are finding creative and innovative methods to share the story of Jesus’ birth with their communities. It delights me. But it’s a lot.

Everyone feels the pressure and the stress and the lingering anxiety that runs rampant in December. It’s not that all the trimmings and trapping of Christmas are bad. Not at all. But they do tend to make us busy. And, like Martha (Luke 10:38-42) who was so focused on serving Jesus that she forgot to listen to His voice, we can become so overwhelmed with our holiday details that we forget why we’re celebrating.

Is it possible to be aware of God’s personal, active presence with us throughout this Christmas season? The answer is, yes, but it’s not a solution that will happen on its own. We must each be intentional about setting aside time for a pause. It doesn’t need to be long. Even five minutes will work.

Purposefully practicing a holy pause, even for a few moments, could help us hear God’s voice in the middle of our stress and busyness. Our God speaks in the silence, and until we prioritize time to sit and listen at His feet, we may lose track of Him.

What a shame that would be to miss our Lord’s voice in the middle of a celebration that’s all about Him. I need this reminder as much if not more than anyone. Let’s all make time to be still this Christmas and hear what our loving Father wants to share with us.


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