Four years ago, I wrote this piece amidst the Christmas season. A year after a long career in retail management, it was still kind of weird actually breathing in Christmas. Yet, as I read these words tucked amidst this reflection and against the backdrop of how life has been since, I ponder.
If I only knew the path that was before me. If I only understood the wake that which was behind me. Perhaps in this, I could have avoided a lot of pain. Living off snapshots of a blurry landscape was what I did best.
Perhaps now, all these years later, these snapshots are slowing down just long enough for me to take a breath and appreciate every last bit of them.
Four years ago, I wrote the following piece amidst the Christmas season. For my own reflection, I’ll make bold that which stands out to me. Perhaps they will reflect the things I did or did not do so well and in some cases, may still not be doing so well. Regardless, one thing I think I do know now that I am not sure I knew then was simply.. I’m ok.
My Return to Christmas
A weary world rejoices are the four words that move me most during the Christmas season. However, after spending nearly 15 years in retail, I am just now beginning to understand the latter part of those four words.
In retail, it takes a lot of discipline to take even a moment to rejoice. And yet… most of our moments are spent weary and on the run.
Maybe it was just me.
With your Christmas plans all but completed by mid-summer, by the time Christmas comes, you are knee deep in both execution of the plans as well as the immediate pivot into the New Year on the very day after Christmas.
In my world, this season was always spent with a deadline to complete the next years budget at the end of the current year. Balancing this with the constant stress of going up against the previous years sales figures coupled with the long hours… what is this season anyway that people buy all of this stuff for?
But by the grace of God, I had not yet forgotten.
One year removed from the Christmas retail experience, I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum in which I had previously dwelt.
I find myself in a place in life where I am beginning to understand the importance of listening, contemplating, resting, and rejoicing.
As I ponder the pace I had kept for so long, is it any wonder how anyone could have ever found the time to accomplish any of these things? Depriving oneself of these all too important postures can not only have a negative impact on you, but on the lives around you, as well.
With the blur of my former life now in the not too distant past, it has ushered me into a place in life that is void of comfort. In this, for all I have and receive, it is only by the grace of God.
Certainly, one could guess that not much has changed in my life in that I have simply replaced the busyness of retail and running several companies with the busyness of seeking to remain as relevant as possible through all the various new media channels and organizations I support.
Stopping and pausing on that thought, perhaps it has nothing to do with that which I am doing to fill my time as it is with how I seek to fill my time? With incorporating these things into one’s life, a direct result is both the ability to rejoice and the ability to act in a sustainable manner. Both things I so deeply wish to do well someday.
In this, I can find no other way to spend the Christmas season than with a posture that reflects this… a posture that truly seeks to not just know, but understand that which really matters in life… a posture that places these things first.
A posture that takes this time to take a long hard look at how life is being lived… and then, adjust accordingly.
As a Jesus follower, this is the Advent season. In this, the Christians believe that the season of Advent serves a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for the Second Coming of Christ.
To live this out requires one to not simply address these things only at this time of every year, but to adopt these postures throughout the whole entire year.
As I think through this, I suspect it is not just me. Instead, I ponder the possibilities if each of us took the time to make these things a way of our daily life.
When one can assume the posture of listening, contemplating, resting, and rejoicing… I believe it is then when one can truly begin to appreciate life for all that it is.
Otherwise, we are merely just living off snapshots of a blurry landscape.