May 23 • 05:47 PM

Putting things in perspective

December 22, 2010
So...what about Christmas this year? Are you among the many having a tough time getting into the spirit of the season? Perhaps the political winds haven't blown your way. Possibly you've been running frantically trying to make ends meet, to stretch yourself and your resources to meet the quota of expectations of those you love, and maybe even of some you don't? Or maybe you are point-blank immobilized by the impossibility of it all.

Several very wise people have helped put things into perspective for me this year. One, Larry Kiser, pastor at my kids' church—Richland Bible—gleaned from John Ortberg's advice to eliminate hurry from our lives. Hurry blinds us to beauty. Beauty stops us and begs to be taken in, but we don't have time. Hurry is, as well, an enemy to intimacy. It starves the soul.

"I'm only now beginning to be old enough, wise enough, to realize how much I've missed," admits Kiser as he reminisces about time spent the night before with his adult kids, realizing how often he'd been too wrapped up with the trappings of the season to really connect. "Major disconnect. D'ya think maybe God feels that way about our relationship with him?"

On the overhead there appears an electrical outlet, and a loose plug, getting the point across that all our busy-ness is for naught if we're not connected to the Power source. Like fruit trying to grow without being connected to the vine.(John 15). "There is absolutely NO running in remaining. Only BEING," added Kiser.

That was that. What a relief! While I was still mulling that over, I picked up a little devotional to see what the author Art Schoonfeld (the Rev, as Mitch Albom would say) was saying about Christmas this year. Here are a few of his insights based on Luke 2.

"Who's in charge? When Caesar spoke, every citizen listened. From every part of the Roman Empire people obeyed Caesar, who proclaimed himself lord of all. Caesar, the self-styled ruler of the universe, was in charge. But Caesar was merely an instrument in the hands of the true Lord of heaven and earth. While Augustus was proudly issuing decrees, the Ruler of the Universe, God himself, was carrying out plans he had laid before the foundation of the world. And in those plans he allowed a self-styled, proud ruler to play a small part. That is God's irony. Remember that fact this season if fear should grip your heart."

Let me just finish by quoting the venerable Mallard Fillmore from this week's Sunday Funnies: "It may be politically incorrect...but I'm not trying to offend anybody...I'm just offering to share the VERY BEST gift I've ever been GIVEN when I say...'For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' Merry Christmas."

I thought I was finished. But...wouldn't you know, I went to my own church, and the pastor we had said, "The greatest gift of all is...that God SO loved us...loves us..."

Be still, my friends, and bask in the luxury of that.

Email Willene at

Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting.
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