From the pulpit: The busiest time of the year

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Well, here we are. Right in the middle of Christmas Season. Or should I say the Christmas &8220;Rush&8221; Season?

Is it me or is this the busiest time of the year for almost everybody? Stores have to hire extra people for the &8220;Christmas Rush&8221;. Churches are full of busy activities like parties, musicals and children’s programs, not to even mention the practices that are involved. We are all busy with shopping, sending cards, planning trips and the like.

Let’s face it; Christmas is a busy time of the year. There is so much to do and not near enough time to do it. I don’t know about you, but in the midst of all the &8220;hustle and bustle&8221; of the season, I would like to slow down and &8220;enjoy&8221; Christmas. Bud do I really have enough time? It seems no matter how hard I try, I find myself being squeezed between the enjoyment of the season and the stampede of the rush. But we are not the first to feel that way.

In Luke 2:8-20,, we read the great story of the angels appearing to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. One of my favorite lines is found in verse 16, &8220;So they hurried off.&8221; Another translation says, &8220;They ran to the village.&8221;

It’s pretty clear from the Bible that the shepherds went into the city in a hurry to experience that first Christmas. But who could blame them? This was no ordinary birth and this was no ordinary baby. This was a birth announcement worthy of singing angels. This was God’s own Son. They had to go see and they went in a hurry. But at least they had a good reason.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know we have good reasons to hurry and scurry at Christmas time. But the shepherds had the best reason. They were going to see Jesus. There is no better reason to be in a hurry. Now days during the Christmas season Jesus seems to get lost in all the activities. And it can happen even in church.

I read a story by an unknown author that told about a dream Mary had. She is relaying it to Joseph. She dreamed of a birthday celebration. She thinks it was for their son, but she really wasn’t sure. People are preparing for the party six weeks or so before hand. They are buying gifts, decorating houses, even putting trees right inside their houses.

&8220;The strange thing was,&8221; Mary said, &8220;they gave gifts to each other and not our son.&8221; Then she says, &8220;I don’t think even knew him. They never even mentioned his name. Doesn’t it seem strange for people to celebrate someone’s birthday if they don’t know him? I had the strangest feeling that if our son would have gone to the celebration, he would have been intruding.&8221;

With all of the things you have to do this Christmas, don’t forget why you are able to do them. Enjoy the season. Have fun. And if you really have to rush, why not rush to Jesus? Spend some time remembering what it’s all about. After all, he is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas!

Bob Milton serves as pastor at the Columbiana Church of the Nazarene. He can be reached by phone at 669-4777