Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Guest Post: Choose What Matters This Christmas


It’s playing on the radio right now—that beloved Christmas carol. It’s blaring through my speakers louder than some people blast their rock music. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. I’d sing along if I wasn’t—you know—writing.

Why am I writing? It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I’m curled up in front of our freshly trimmed Christmas tree and the Christmassy coziness is REAL. I’m writing because, three days into the holiday season, I’m already suffering from Christmas Brain.

In other words, I can’t remember anything other than the lyrics to my favorite Christmas carols, recipes for Christmas cookies, and the day’s date. (Why the date? Because I’m counting down the days until Christmas…wishing there were more of them.)

Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking this is going to be a happy little post all about the Christmas spirit or something.

Not to burst your bubble or anything but…


It’s not.
This is a guest post about how I FORGOT TO WRITE THIS GUEST POST. About how I thought Stephanie must have been mistaken when she asked me where my guest post was. That was on Saturday and I ever-so-nicely replied that she must have made a mistake. Um…nope. That would be me.

Of course, Stephanie ever-so-sweetly reassured me that it was FINE and that I didn’t have to write a post if I was too busy. Of course, I insisted that it wouldn’t be a problem. That I could get the blog post written and sent to her on time. Which—obviously—I did.


And now I will actually begin my post.

And I’m writing this post for me. Because I need it. And maybe you need it too.

I’m a workaholic.

Now wait—before you think this is just a re-write of Tessa’s post from last month. It’s not. Promise.
I’m not here to help you make sense out of the crazy chaos surrounding a busy school, work, and writing schedule. I’m not even going to touch that subject since I’m obviously still figuring it out myself.

No, what I’m here to say today is this.

Take.
A.
Breath.

If you’re like me, you don’t stop to think, to breathe, or even sleep. You rush ahead, meeting the world head-on as you chase your dreams. That’s great—it really is. But it isn’t enough. We all need time to stop, think, and just be. We need to be able to enter into a place with our Lord and Savior and rest in His love, in His presence, in His words that say that we are enough because of Him (1 Corinthians 3:5).



That’s why I want to encourage you to take these weeks leading up to Christmas and lay aside the chaos of life. Am I telling you to procrastinate? No. Be lazy? Absolutely not!

I’m telling you to rest. Take a break from those “optional” things that you normally just can’t say no to. It’s the season of Advent, of Christmas. The season that celebrates the greatest gift ever given to us—a baby.

When Jesus came to earth, he was laid in a manger in a barn. A barn? Not one of those cutesy stables with a nice, cozy feeding trough lined with supersoft blankets you see in nativity scenes. It was a dirty, smelly BARN—simplicity at its finest.

And if God can send His one and only Son to earth to spend his first hours in something as unglamorous as a barn, can’t we take a little break? Do things just a little more simply this Christmas season? Let’s not worry so much about growing our platforms, about meeting that self-imposed deadline, or about keeping a perfect blog schedule. Those things can wait.

What can’t wait?
Now.

Today is here and then it’s gone, faster than snow melting during the spring thaw. You’ll never be able to get today back, you’ll never be able to slow down the hands of the clock or—oh, how I wish—rewind time.

So whatever you have planned today—take a second look. What do you HAVE to get done? What can wait ? And what, most of all, does your heart need?

Maybe it’s just some extra quiet time with God. Maybe it’s coffee with that special friend or a night sipping cocoa by the fireplace with your family. Maybe you’re like me—an introvert who has already peopled way too much for the week—and you just need to take an hour to read or write in your journal.

Whatever it is—do it. Make the time to rest, to recharge.

When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, did he tell Martha: “Oh, look at you! You’re running around, stressing yourself out all because of Me. Blessed are you, dear sister.”

Nope.

He praised her sister, Mary, for laying aside the things that could wait and just being in the presence of her Lord and Savior.

So, today, as we gear up to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the day He came to Earth to cleanse our sins and make for us a forever home in Heaven, rest in Him. Whatever you have going on, good or bad—it’s temporary. Think about everything on your to-do list. Which of those things will matter—I mean really matter—in six months? Focus on them first.

And then, before you move on to those other things—the ones you’d really like to do—take a moment. Ask His guidance. But don’t do it because you “have to” or because “that’s just what you do.”

During this precious Christmas season, don’t forget the joy that is found in sitting back, reveling in the holidays, and celebrating the precious gift of our Savior.

And if you listen to Christmas carols and munch on a few cookies while you do that?
Even better.



Taylor Bennett is the author of the contemporary YA novel, Porch Swing Girl, which releases from Mountain Brook Ink in June 2018. When she isn’t pecking madly at her computer, she’s playing violin on her church’s worship team, snapping pictures, or walking in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She loves to connect with future readers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram (her favorite!) as well as on Goodreads and her author website.

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4 comments

  1. Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Stephanie! I can't wait for next time...and I promise I won't forget ;)

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely! It was so lovely to have you! Next time will be SO exciting. :)

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  2. Very nicely done. Insightful and well written

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