The Big Four Are Coming

Our running shoes tied, we stood at the starting line ~ and waited for the final gong of mid-night ushering in the 1st of September: the opening season of ~ rush!

Schools began, organizations resumed their schedules, church’ geared up their programs. Athletes practiced. And remote controls were cleaned for the big games. And store managers salivated watching us head for The Big Four: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

But God’s seasons call us to wind down, to prepare for the quiet of winter. Unfortunately, lurking underneath this Currier and Ives scene is a frenzied ‘to-do’ list. And our sneakers begin to smoke.

How do we live this word ~ quiet ~ in the middle of a traffic jam? Move to a monastery, turn off the iPhone? No, it’s a mindset. God didn’t say to pull away, and do nothing to become a busybody. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:12: “ ...we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they [us] work in quietness...” (NKJV).

Whatever we’re doing, God wants us to see the now of the moment within the chaos: “Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 4:6).

Word pictures will help us. The monks set the rhythm of their day to keep them focused. And we can do the same:

In the morning, before slipping on our ‘hoilday’ running gear, lie still and listen to the sounds, or silence with a thankful heart.

Next put God’s name at the top of our list. When we look at it, thank Him for the day’s opportunities.

Then ask for His guidance in our tasks.

In the middle of our day set watches or iPhones to buzz reminding us to pause, and thank God for His Spirit within us: “Be still and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Perhaps the English were monks. Teatime strengthens us to finish our agenda.

Late afternoon, as we slip off those overly used shoes, reflect on those moments we fell to irritation, and ask for forgiveness.

At twilight, concentrate on one beautiful object, and become aware of the quiet within.

In the cool of the evening God walked with Adam and Eve. If able and weather permits, a short walk with family or friends can refresh us.

At night, recommitting to God’s protective love, and remembering the good things of the day, helps ward off the evil one’s destructive barbs.

These habits direct our minds to communicate with God, not the world, in prayer: “Do not love the world, nor the things of the world” (1John 2:15). It isn’t easy. Especially with the Big Four looming around the corner to draw us into the 100-mile dash. Jotting down key words will help. We may remember only two items at first. But don’t give up!

Perhaps we won’t decorate or bake as we did. Or have the holiday cards out on time. But we ‘ll enjoy the rhythms of the seasons, play and laugh more. And save our shoes! With joy, we’ll claim Christ’s promise: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:29).