How many times have we heard the words found in Luke 2:7? We feel great sympathy for the worried Joseph, deep empathy for the weary and hurting Mary, and great concern for the about-to-be-born Jesus. We may even feel disgust for innkeepers that turned away this growing family. We sense the injustice of anyone being forced to sleep with barnyard animals. For two thousand years, we have understood that having “no room” separated the innkeepers from the greatest moment in human history.
Knowing the dangers of having “no room,” why do we still keep our lives so full that we have no room what is truly important in life?
As the year winds to a close, are you feeling joyful or stress-filled? Do you look forward to deepening your relationships with God, family, and friends during this season — or are you anxious about meeting so many obligations to family, friends, work, and church?
Give yourself permission to simplify your life.
Do not give anyone the power to guilt, cajole, or force you to add unnecessary and unwanted events, activities, or tasks. Following the Holy Spirit’s leading, choose how you will spend your time, talent, and treasure. Yes — many wonderful and worthwhile opportunities come at this time of year; but you do not have do participate in every one.
Where is your heart drawn? Limit yourself to those things.
- Do you love to bake? Bake those seasonal treats that bring you joy — and give them as you desire. You do not have to provide goodies for every school event, neighborhood party, office gathering, and church bazaar. (Please don’t tell my congregation about that last part! ?)
- Do you love to give? Every Christian gives cheerfully and freely, but some of us have a special spiritual gift of generosity. Many worthwhile charities seek our gifts this time of year and we can feel guilt about not giving to all. Don’t! Invest as God directs and trust that God will direct others to those causes to which you do not give.
- Do you love to visit? Set your priorities about how you will spend your time. Is it better to invest deeply in a few relationships — or touch as many people as you can? Your answer will depend upon your spiritual wiring and temperament. Spend time visiting shut-ins or send chatty notes to an extensive card list — either is the right way to spend time provided it is authentic to you.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Take the crazy out of Christmas by creating room in your life for God and for those things that are most important.
A less cluttered life provides the time and space to become more aware of God’s love for you. As you accept God’s love and lead, you will feel free to decline events and opportunities that are not right for you. The room available will allow you to love and care for yourself and others in a way that is right for you.
God’s invitation to you this season is to make room for Jesus in your life. When we make room for him, we find our true selves — as daughters, wives, mothers, friends, mentors, employers, volunteers, and supporters.
May Christ bless you deeply this season.
About Carol Pazdersky
Carol Pazdersky is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. She serves the faith communities of St. John’s UMC in Lutherville, MD, and Idlewylde UMC as lead pastor. As the member of the District Committee on Ministry, Carol has mentored other women as they answer their call to ministry. On a daily basis, Carol ministers with women who are seeking to balance their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. She is a wife, mother of three young adults, friend, and animal lover and on the same journey to find balance.