That comment triggers a memory from the book I’ve been reading, The Jesus Life by Stephen W. Smith. I pause, recalling the startling premise: “Jesus was never in a hurry.”
See, it should be right here, between hurling and hurt (which strikes me as pointedly accurate.)
The phrase “made haste” is more familiar in the KJV, but even then, it’s never Jesus who is making it! Mary makes haste to visit Elizabeth, the shepherds made haste to find the baby, etc.
But not Jesus. It seems that hurry was not a part of the way Jesus did life.
He had to walk everywhere He went, and He probably could have taken Himself places in a blink (Beam Me up, Spirit?) But no. Perhaps the whole culture moved at a more sane pace in those days before nanoseconds, speed dating (it’s a thing!), and Instagram. Today, it seems that everyone is in a hurry, all the time.
What really happens is that all the hurry distracts me from noticing the growing distance between my life and God’s heart.
Recently I mentioned the quote about Jesus pace of life to someone whom I thought would “get it;” I’m still trying to unpack the unedited response – first, a peal of laughter, and then my words repeated back with a chuckle rumbling just below the surface: “Jesus was never in a hurry,” chuckle, smile.
Was it just too hard to believe the possibility that Jesus was never in a hurry?
But here’s what I’m noticing…He wasn't! And He still isn’t! So, when I’m barreling full speed ahead through my days, my life, chances are I’m not exactly walking in step with Jesus. I’m out ahead, or I’m off course on a detour He didn’t mean for me to take, and in the rush, I’ve missed the Presence completely.
Click. Jiggle. At 4am I heard the latch rattle. Life a flash, I was out of bed; grabbing my glasses, I flew to his little room right next to mine. Yes, the door was ajar. The night light’s glow illuminated the room enough to reveal ---an empty bed.
I dashed into the hallway, knowing a flight of stairs gaped just steps from his door. No little Buddy.
Rushing to the bathroom, I found…nobody.
Mystified and a little concerned, I poked my head back into his room one more time, (no boy.)
I turned to find him watching me; he stood stock still and a little puzzled in the doorway of my bedroom. In my hurry, I had blown right past him, a quiet presence wearing glow-in-the-dark dinosaur pajamas.
Less hurry, more pause would have helped me to find him much sooner.
I think it’s like that with Jesus sometimes; in my holy hurry, I miss Him completely, and to be honest there are days I'm not even looking for Him. I am just doing life, waay tooo fast, flying past the Presence who, even without glow-in-the-dark dinosaur pajamas, longs to reveal Himself to me in the peace of pause.
I know, I know. Holidays are the worst. (Holy days, right?!)
There is just so much to do, there are so many expectations to fulfill…not the least of which are my own. School and church programs and gift buying and cookie baking and Instagram moments (other people’s perfect, polished lives) keep me in fifth gear.
Unless I choose it.
I sit down.
I light a candle.
– to what is happening around me, all the little sounds coming through the walls through the halls. Sleet tapping. Floorboards groaning. Neighbor's dog fussing. Clock ticking. Clothes dryer rumbling. Chair squeaking.
Then I listen again,
-to what is happening within me. I hear a lot of chattering.
A voice is reciting a to-do list seven inches long, and some shoulds and oughts are murmuring for attention. Reminders of upcoming obligations are fluttering and flapping like flags in a December gale. One by one I acknowledge them and place them in a resting place (my lists are many and useful.)
and then I pause.
I whisper or hum something.
Today it was, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and He always does.
Or perhaps He always IS…present, Presence.
A quiet knowing comes to my soul, and I take these words, this truth with me:
“Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee…”
if you are rushing fast,
rushing past the Presence,
I recommend this practice.
Give yourself permission to pause.
Fifteen minutes would be a wonderful start.
Light a candle.
Listen to what is happening around you.
Listen to what is happening within you.
Then, just listen.
Be still and know the Presence.
Breathe in grace, breathe out praise.
When you return to
"your regularly scheduled programming,”
it might look a little different.
It might feel a little different.
(I hope it does!)
Keep breathing in - grace.
Keep breathing out - praise.
Put some Holy day back in your holiday.