This has been a very good Christmas for me, visiting with my mom, my daughter and my sisters and their families in Minnesota and Wisconsin. After a number of gloomy, cloudy days, today is filled with brilliant sunshine and the kind of intense cold we usually expect to find in Minnesota at this time of year. It is the kind of day that makes you glad to stay inside a warm house, look outside at the bright sunlight on the snow, and do some year-end reflecting.

That was the focus of the sermon we heard yesterday at my mom’s church – “Consider”. After a very busy period of scrambling to get ready for Christmas, and for traveling across the country with a need to be in certain places by certain times with gifts ready to share with various family members, we were challenged to again think about the difference between the urgent and the important. When there is a particular deadline like Christmas Eve when we need to have finished our shopping, our wrapping, our baking, our decorating and our traveling, we are well reminded of what is urgent. We know all too well everything on our to do lists and the deadline that is looming. We understand urgent.

But as mom’s pastor admitted yesterday, she had been so caught up with getting ready for her own family Christmas, her upcoming wedding, and the many Christmas services at their relatively large church, she had not taken time to just sit and read quietly the story of Jesus’ birth herself. She had been so caught up with the urgent preparations, that she had not found time to quietly listen for the voices of the angels and the shepherds announcing that good news to her personally. That is what is most important about this Christmas season – God declaring his love for us by sending his son to become one with us.

I am not very good about consistently focusing on what is important rather than on what feels urgent. On another level, while we are here visiting with family, I have had to do a bit of work for my job, because I have clients that are expecting to see the results of that work from me. That feels very urgent to me. However, I am convinced that spending time with my 87 year old mom, my 27 year old daughter, and my sisters and their families who I don’t get to see often is far more important in the long run than making a few more phone calls by a particular deadline.

As you go into New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, I invite you to take an hour on your own to consider what is urgent and what is important in your life for 2015, and then to take another hour to share those thoughts with your family or significant others. It just might contribute to making it a truly happy new year.

Loving God,

Thank you for your patience with us when we confuse what is urgent with what is important. Please help us to take the time that you give us to consider the difference, and to more consistently focus on the things that are important. Thank you for entrusting to us the responsibility and opportunity to make those decisions and to participate in helping those around us to focus on the important as well.

David Erickson-Pearson

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