I wonder what words come to your mind when you think about the Christmas season. For some of us, we think of words like family, parties, presents, snow, Christmas trees, cookies, and friends. But for many of us (myself included), the Christmas season brings to mind the words: busy, tiresome, packed, and hectic. There is an adamant danger lurking in the Christmas season, it’s a five-letter word called “hurry.”
Merriam-Webster defines the word “hurry” in this way—“to carry or cause to go with haste.” In other words, hurry is the practice of moving quickly from one thing to the next. And it is important to note that “hurry” is the child of a busy life. That’s why all of us can relate to this notion of rushing from one thing to the next, because after all, which of us doesn’t live a busy life?
Adele Calhoun, in her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, wisely warns us of the danger of living life at this pace. She writes:
“We can (get in such a hurry) doing urgent things and so preoccupied with what comes next that we don’t experience the now. Afraid of being late, we rush from the past to the future. The present moment becomes a crack between what we did and what we have yet to do… (Yet) we don’t get to our futures any faster if we hurry. And we certainly don’t become better people in haste. More likely than not, the faster we go the less we become.”
When we’re tempted to rush along with the crowd this Christmas, let’s be aware of the dangers of life in a hurry.
Danger #1: Hurry can cause us to neglect the presence of God.
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3) Because our lives are hidden in Christ, we are not only forgiven and made right before God, we are also given complete access to the Father at anytime, anywhere! Our union with Christ enables us to have constant communion with Christ.
But hurry can cause us to neglect this by fixing our hearts and minds not on the unlimited access we have to Christ, but on the next thing we have to do. The result? We wake up, live our lives in a hurried blur, and go to bed realizing we went all day without enjoying the presence of our precious Savior.
Danger #2: Hurry can cause us to view people as interruptions to ministry instead of opportunities for ministry.
In an effort to be efficient and productive, we move quickly from thing to thing. Meeting deadlines, achieving goals, accomplishing tasks. But the danger of doing all of these things in a hurry is that we can tend to view people as obstacles to ministry instead of viewing people as opportunities for ministry. Someone popping their head in your office, stopping you to talk in the hallway, starting a conversation with you on Sunday morning, or an unexpected phone call are all opportunities for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. But the danger is living life in such a hurry that we miss the opportunities all because we see people in a way Jesus never did: as obstacles to ministry.
Danger #3: Hurry can cause us to be blind to God’s grace at work in others.
When we are living life in a hurry we will not be able to perceive the ways in which God is at work in the lives of other people. Hurry causes us to be so focused on the “next thing” that we are blind to the ways in which God is at work in people all around us. Friends, if we would just stop and ponder on the lives of those around us (even the person sitting next to us) there is no doubt we could come up with a list of ways in which we see God’s grace visibly at work in their lives. And here is the thing: God wants to use YOU to encourage others around you by using your mouth to tell others the way in which you see Him at work in them—what a privilege!
Danger #4: Hurry can cause us to miss out on savoring the goodness of Jesus.
The greatest danger hurry poses is this: moving so quickly to the next thing, we miss experiencing Psalm 16:11. “In your presence there is fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Thomas Watson understood the depths of God’s goodness when he wrote, “God is a superlative good. He is better than anything you can put in competition with him: he is better than health, riches, and honor. He is a well of deep, deep riches.”
Christ is an overflowing fountain of joy. The Savior whose coming to earth we celebrate this Christmas season. The question is—are you willing to slow down today to drink deeply from Him?