“How’s it been, readjusting to normal life?” I’ve been asked.
“Has it been difficult?”
After our three-month caravanning adventure from Tassie to Cooktown and back again, you’d’ve thought it WOULD be difficult slotting back into the daily rhythms and responsibilities. Of school lunches and ballet lessons and housework and meetings and juggling jobs and groceries. Instead of beach days and markets and ice-cream and beach days and walks and cafes and beach days.
But it hasn’t.
And when I look back to that jewel of family time on the road, seeing new things every day, living simply and without much need for clocks and calendars, I recognise something very special that God gave us this year.
Yes, he gave us three months. Of time. But those three months have given us an appreciation for the true value of our time. And I’ve said this to so many people lately, but it’s true and I want to share it again. Our family dynamic is so very different since we’ve returned. We relish the time we have together. We cosy up in the evenings and play games together. We run around the house like mad people… last time Phill and the kids had Lego airplanes and were deployed to the bedroom to bring down the Mama Bear. You shoulda heard me roar! And you shoulda heard them squeal as they ran through the house to find refuge under a blanket or crouched in a corner.
You don’t need to go on an extended holiday to learn these things. I know many families that do this stuff amazingly well already.
But it has struck me – at this end of the year when we are scurrying to buy just the right presents for the loved ones in our lives, when we are cramming events into our calendar — that our time is THE most precious thing.
A friend was telling me about the tropical holiday she is embarking on very soon.
“There’s no internet service,” she said.
My eyes widened and I sighed, “How w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l!”
“So many people respond like that,” she said.
We CAN just detach ourselves from the things that tug at our attention. But we don’t, do we? Until we’re made to.
I’m always looking at better ways to give at Christmastime. Lately, for some of our friends and rellies, we mark out a night in our pre-Christmas schedule, and gift it to each other. Instead of giving THINGS, we give time. We book a babysitter and a restaurant, doesn’t matter where, and we spend the evening chatting together. And we end the year knowing where they’re at, having listened and been heard, having laughed and perhaps even cried. Time is a gift of such blessing.
And as I watched my beautiful children in the Christmas production at church recently, a little singing sheep and a rogue wise man, I am reminded that God’s gift to us in Jesus’ birth all those centuries ago was the value of time. He came to undo the full-stop of death. To stop the clock’s ticking— not to an end, but to an endlessness.
Our God, unrestricted by time, surrendered Himself so that we would no longer be restricted by time.
“For this is how much God loved the world — he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.”
John 3:16 (TPT)
Christmas is about time. We spend time with loved-ones. We look into the clear, bright, vulnerable eyes of children and marvel at their joy, at their wonder. And we celebrate the fact that our time here on earth is not meaningless, is not an inevitable pathway to nothing. Because of Jesus, our time here is drenched with purpose and, however long we have, it leads to an eternity in His presence, the joy of which we simply cannot comprehend.
Merry Christmas my dear friends. May your celebrations be heavy with eternity.