Nov. 15, 2022
Priorities, Interruptions, and the Joy of the Holidays
‘Tis the season… well almost anyway. And already we are feeling the pinch in our pocketbooks, calendars, and possibly our state of mental well-being. Time to define our priorities and ban those pesky interruptions. Only then will we reap the full joy of the holidays. Or will we? Perhaps God…
‘Tis the season… well almost anyway. And already we are feeling the pinch in our pocketbooks, calendars, and possibly our state of mental well-being. Time to define our priorities and ban those pesky interruptions. Only then will we reap the full joy of the holidays.
Or will we?
Perhaps God has a different idea for our priorities and the interruptions that are sure to come.
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard, you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:9-10
Few people make their living by farming these days, but that doesn’t mean we are without fields to tend and harvests to glean. For certain, we have fields of finances, families, and friendships. And we also have the field of time—and that’s the one I want us to consider now.
The ads for new day planners and calendars that will help us maximize our productivity by mapping out the details of our days are out in full force. If we want to schedule our lives to the second, there is no end to the beautifully illustrated and intricately designed devices that can help us do that. If we are determined to “wholly reap the corners” of our field call time, there is nothing to stop us. Nothing except for these instructions from God found in Leviticus.
Let’s start with a look at our holiday plans.
Christmas parties, decorating, shopping, gift wrapping, baking, family gatherings—if we have an unused nook or cranny of time, there is always something with which we can fill it.
And as soon as we do here come the interruptions.
A friend calls because she is feeling lonely or depressed. Do we have time for an unhurried, take all the time we need visit?
A neighbor gets sick. Do we have time to take them a meal, do their shopping, or help clean their house?
And can we do it with a sense of joy? That is the true test of our heart.
If we’re going to care for the poor and the stranger, the widow and the orphan, the certain man who fell among thieves who robbed him and left him half dead (see Luke 10:3-36), then we’ve got to leave something worth harvesting in the corners of our fields—our calendars.
The worst-case scenario, we end up with some unfilled free time. It doesn’t mean we have nothing to do, that we are being wasteful… unless we use it to binge watch Netflix or scroll through funny cat videos.
It gives us the chance be the interruption we would have previously wished to avoid. Take a meal to a sick friend or a new set of parents. Offer to babysit for the family who is foster parenting. Make a hot cup of tea and call an old friend just to check on them. Grocery shop for someone who can’t get out, then take time to visit as you deliver. Walk around town handing out candy canes and prayers.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they are also a hard time for many people.
Boaz knows something about leaving a little something in his fields. In the Book of Ruth, he left some grain in his fields to be gleaned by the poor. One of those happened to be a widow named Ruth, who became his wife (see Ruth 2).
And together they became the ancestors of King David, and ultimately the line through which our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born.
All because there was a field “not wholly” reaped.
This year I’m prioritizing the interruptions. I’m leaving space in the margins and holes to the agenda. I’m not reaping the corners of my calendar. Instead, let me share the fruit of my time with others and my harvest may be one of joy.
I want to see them not as unwanted interruptions, but as divine opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ—to be a vessel through which God may pour out His blessings on another.
Yes, I want to use my time wisely, but what could be wiser than to make myself available to be used by God?
Share your thoughts and join the conversation:
What are the things or activities that are the hardest to say no to or let go of so that you find margin in your holidays?
What do you see as the benefit to keeping “the corners of your calendar” from being time fully reaped?
What priorities can you set so that you can embrace the interruptions?
Used with permission of the author, Lori Altebaumer. To read more of Lori’s writing, visit www.lorialtebaumer.com.