Wednesday, December 07, 2005

This Busy Advent Business

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I had a thing. You know, I was “busy.”

How many times have you heard someone mention their busy-ness in the past few days or weeks? I personally have spoken those words more than a few times, in various tones of voice.

There is the too-tired-to-move, “Oh, I’m so busy…”

There is the there-is-no-way-in-heck-I-will-ever-get-this-done, “Arrgh, I’m so busy!”

And then the ever popular my-Advent-has-got-to-be-so-much-more-hectic-than-your-Advent-so-get-out-of-my-way-you-pathetic-slacker, “Sorry, I’m just so BUSY!”

This is the time of year that clergy and other church staff smile at each other and say, “It’s that time of year, isn’t it?” then we chuckle and go right ahead with whatever insane busy-ness we were up to before pausing those few moments to comment on the insanity itself. The season of Advent just seems to fill up with business (and busy-ness) that we can’t avoid, … and maybe we shouldn’t.

Remember that bumper sticker that said, “Jesus is coming: Look busy!”?

Is there some kind of a spiritual discipline in ordering the busy seasons of one’s life? All of this burst of activity in preparation for the birth of God’s Messiah – maybe, like all things, it’s okay in moderation. After all, this is a pretty significant birth for which we are preparing, isn’t it? Our activity is driven by no less that Christ’s new entrance into our lives, something for which we have quite a bit of preparing to do. Our “to do list” is long, and we had better get busy: open up, get into receiving mode, spruce up our lives a little bit (or maybe even a lot).

This is not to say that we are to participate in a kind of holiday style works righteousness. The things we do do not earn our salvation. All of this Advent activity is voluntary. We choose to vacuum the living room when guests come over; it is not required. Similarly, we choose to engage in Advent business when the Guest is coming over, though it is not required. And some Christians would do well to recall that faith without works is dead. Or said another way, The grace of God does not imply passivity on the part of the receptors.

I am tired tonight, and a lot of my weariness is due to the preparations that are a part of this Advent season, and a part of ministry in general. But it is, as my mom sometimes says, a “good tired.” It is a tired resulting from Advent activity in preparation for Christmas. It is a tired with a sense of accomplishment behind it. I’m not going nuts; I know when to slow down and when to take Sabbath rest. It's all about balancing activity and rest - the both/and - the yin/yang.

Yeah, sure I’m busy. But - Jesus is coming! So let's get busy!


'Thought & Humor' said...

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinite goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

Merry Christmas,
Dr. Howdy

'Thought & Humor'

John said...

Do you ever get so busy that you feel guilty when you actually have time off?

Randy said...

[chuckle] Dr. Howdy said "erected."

I'm still trying to decipher the rest of what he said. It sounds like he's saying you have a cool site, but you should talk about God more, because talking about God makes people happy.

If you REALLY want to feel happy, I have a suggestion for all of you who are reading this post. Get up out of your chair right now. Go on, get up.

You're not getting up.

Ok, so sit there. But when you are finished blogging, get up (eventually you will have to because nature will call!).

Once you have stood up, try to do that dance the hillbilly dragon on Dr. Howdy's post is doing. Do it! It's fun! Get your children involved!

Now sing along with me:

It's just a jump to the left.
And then a step to the right.
With your hands on your hips.
You bring your knees in tight.
But it's the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane.

(altogether now! You all know the next lines, right?)

See, wasn't that fun? Now THAT's what I call theology!

Anonymous said...

Did you see the article in the Kansas City Star on Wednesday?
If you are overly tired you can follow other churches advice and be closed on Christmas Day!!! The artice went on to say they were worried about attendance and after all Christmas Day was a family day!
I guess there are people even in the clergy that just don't get it. You talk about taking Christ out of Christmas! I'm sure you will have lots to say about that article.
See ya soon!

gavin richardson said...

i think of it as, get busy, get done your stuff so that you can spend optimal time with the important things.

however, i've gotten to the point i say 'i'm busy' less and less.. i'll be more apt to say, i was taking a nap, i didn't feel like talking to you, i wanted to be lazy, etc. it's almost freeing.

Anonymous said...

That's funny about the churches closing on Christmas Day. My roommate and I (about 10 - 11 years ago) both had Christmas off because our restaurant was closed that day. Since we normally both worked Sundays, we thought it would be nice to go to church. We dressed up really shiny and drove around Warrensburg Missouri around 10:00 a.m. We continued driving for about 30 minutes. Now there are LOTS of churches in Warrensburg, and we did not find ONE open on Christmas morning. We were the "unchurched" that a lot of churches are after, and they completely missed their moment that day. I was befuddled and disappointed. On Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Shelly :)!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand Dr Howdy. Is it supposed to be a joke or is it to ba taken seriously? If he/she is criticizing your blog for not mentioning Father/Son/Spirit enough, he/she must not have read many of your previous blogs. And he/she doesn't think that this blog is God-centered? Needs to read it again. cb

Michael said...

I'm sorry .... huh?

Kansas Bob said...

Busy-ness vs Being-ness ... it took a long time to understand that it was okay for me to just 'be' without doing. It was (and still is) hard because so much of my worth/identity was/is wrapped up in what I did/do.

I have found that when doing comes out of being it feels more like what Jesus said about living water coming from our innermost being. This kind of doing refreshes the soul rather than draining it.