The art of slowing down

“Hurry is not of the devil, it is the devil” (Carl Jung).

gogh.rest-workI have a hard time with the whole Rest and Relaxation thing. There are days when I feel like that little kid from Talladega Nights–“I’m all jacked up on mountain dew!”–and I realize my day is nonstop movement. Life feels like a series of things to check off a to-do list. Constantly, it seems, I am thinking of what I need to do next in ministry and life. After one event, I’m looking forward to the next; after one message, I’m brainstorming about next week. On and on it goes. And this constant on-the-go lifestyle can be draining. Seriously. You act more like a machine than a person. The problem is only exacerbated when you realize the church seems to promote this kind of busy-with-much-haste lifestyle.

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The Disturbing News of Christmas

Is it possible that the birth of Jesus is not only good news but also disturbing news? In Matthew 2 we read the story of the journey of the Magi who are following a star en route to finding a new king.  Along the way they meet with a king named Herod who is intrigued by their journey. But he’s also fearful. The news of a coming Messiah is described as ‘disturbing’ to Herod and his household.

The word translated as disturbing in Matthew 2 is used elsewhere in his gospel. It’s the word used by the disciples when they see Jesus walking on water and believe him to be a ghost. Matthew writes that they were disturbed or terrified or intimidated. Herod is feeling the same sentiment about Jesus. It’s quite a paradox: A king who lives in a guarded palace, surrounded by soldiers and weapons, is disturbed at the prospect of this new baby.

Yes, the birth of Jesus is good news to mankind. But to some, it is also disturbing news for it signals the beginning and the end.

Herod and the Magi

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