Making a Significant Memory This Christmas
I remember the Christmas of my 5th grade year. We had just moved into a duplex we were renting. Just my mom and sister and me. I knew I wasn’t going be getting anything for Christmas, because we had just redecorated my new room. I remember opening box after box with a note inside that said something like, “This box represents your beautiful blue bedspread.” “This box would have held your blue rug.” “This is the box your new blue curtains would have been wrapped in.” I guess I liked blue. “Pillow shams, sheets, desk.” I opened up all these empty boxes and thought “Wow, at least I had something to open.”
Then my grandmother, we called her Nanny, said, “You know, your uncle Robbie threw away $200 in cash taped in the lid of a box one year because he didn’t look real close at everything he opened.” I dove into those boxes. I searched for money. I found another note. This time it was written right on the inside of the lid of one of the boxes. It directed me to go outside and open the back of our big giant grocery-getter station wagon. I open the back and the first thing I see is the word Huffy! It was a bike! Score. Ah, the memories of Christmases past.
When it comes to Christmas the people go through Christmas in one of three ways. About half of us go through the Christmas season thinking about the past. We rehearse long forgotten memories of Christmases long, long ago. We relive the stories like the one I just told. We wish for another place in time and we kind of superimpose the past into this Christmas and then we evaluate this year through the filter or grid of the past and we dwell there.
Then there’s the other half or almost half of us. We’re always kind of one step ahead of Christmas. “We’ve got to go to the store, we’ve got to get the wrapping paper, we have to go the mall, we have to go to that party.” We’re just kind of thinking one step ahead. We’re not really in the moment. We’re thinking of the next thing that we need to do.
Very few, maybe one out of ten of us, will naturally hit the pause button and leave the past and not be so concerned about the future but actually get out of those two places to come into the moment this Christmas season and capture the moment. I’m not saying what we need to do is eliminate the preparation for Christmas nor am I saying we need to eliminate the memories. It’s just that Christmas affords us some rare opportunities and some rare moments and if we’re not careful, we’ll miss them.
When you talk about not missing moments the reason why we’re talking about this, this week with two weeks to go, is because when you don’t capture a moment, what’s the alternative? You miss the moment. When you miss moments, that creates, that can cause regret. When you wish you had done something differently and you didn’t do it the way you wished you had. Then you look back with regret and go, “I really wish I had done that moment or captured that moment better.”
I just want to look at a short Bible story, only four verses long. It’s about capturing the moment. There two different people who approach an encounter with Jesus very differently. I want us to use this little passage of scripture to be a model for us for how we head into Christmas these last two weeks. It’s the story about Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. One totally captures the moment, and the other does not.
Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.
We see in these four verses a battle for a moment. We see someone winning the moment and we see someone losing the moment.
We have to replace the urgent with the significant.
Luke 10:39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
Why was Mary able to do that when Jesus came to visit? She was able to separate the urgent from the significant. I am sure she helped her sister prepare the house when they found out Jesus was coming, but when Jesus came knocking on the door that was when the preparation had to stop. Mary was able to sit with Jesus, connect with Jesus, interact with Jesus, listen to Jesus and engage Him and not miss that moment. I love this verse from the paraphrase the Message. It talks about being in the moment.
Matthew 6:34 Msg “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now. Don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
You see the difference between the urgent and the significant? You know how this Christmas season is a time where we’re supposed to kind of hit the pause button and take stock of our relationships.
Let me speak to the dads here for a second. Burn a vacation day this week or next week if you’ve got one. Do something special with your kids. Do something special with your wife. Go with her and shop and connect and just in your own mind decide, “Work is urgent. I am the provider,” but if you have a little margin, if you have a little credit with the boss, burn a vacation day and connect both with God in a more meaningful way this Christmas and with your wife and with your family. Christmas is a wonderful time to take stock. We’ve got to replace the urgent for the significant if we’re not going to miss the moment.