You know that scene in Home Alone when the entire family is running through the airport, furiously trying to get to their flight on time? They’re moving at a breakneck speed, completely ignorant of the fact that they’ve left an entire person, the littlest among them, home alone for Christmas.
I feel like I’ve been running through that airport at the same speed this fall, except I’m not ignorant of what I’m running from or why I refuse to slow down.
I don’t know about you, but I find busy to be easy. Busy means less time to dwell on life’s disappointments. Less time to think about the what-ifs and shoulda coulda’s that creep in when you’re lying in bed at night. The more I move, the faster I go from one thing to the next, the less time I have to dwell on the things I’d rather not think about. The busier I stay, the easier it is to avoid the edges of pain that threaten to break into my world.
To stop would mean facing the reality that this Christmas, like every Christmas before, comes after a year of sadness and joy, heartache and blessing, and it comes at a time of such great change. And frankly, I’d rather run away from it all than sit still long enough to actually acknowledge any of this reality. And God knows it. He knows it and I doubt he’s surprised at all.
How often do we see this story play out in Scripture? Jonah running from Nineveh, Moses trying to get out of leading the Israelites, Martha busying herself with hosting duties rather than sitting at Jesus’ feet. There are plenty of examples of the ways we avoid what we know is real sprinkled throughout the Bible. But then there’s Jesus, who didn’t avoid or run from the cross but rather walked straight towards it. The only one who could have successfully run away from the reality before him and he chose, out of an unending love and desire for his children, to give himself up. For a bunch of people who still try and run.
Here’s the thing: we’re actually so much safer when we stop trying to avoid what we’re so afraid of. You and I are held by a Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, in spite our unwavering desire to bolt at the first sign of discomfort. He desires to know our pain and to comfort us through the change. There is not a second he is afraid or unwilling to catch us when we stop moving.
And so friends, I’m asking you to do what I beg of myself: stop. Stop moving. Sit down and let it all in. Sit still with our Savior long enough to allow his love to cover your fear as his grace covers our sins. Stop moving long enough to hear him whisper of how, in love, he came to be born and to die, for you.