Christmas shopping list with spruce branch, white snowflake, silver star, ornaments and green confetti on a wooden plank background..
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5
‘Tis the season to be… busy. I don’t know about you, but when the holydays come around, my to-do list expands and expands and expands. Gift-buying, house-cleaning, baking, decorating, wrapping, packaging and mailing, gatherings and parties, and then, there’s that trip to Tanzania right around the corner, with seminars to outline and write. Oh, and the book I’m working on, then, and then… there’s always something more, isn’t there?
The pace is relentless, even for someone at home, as I am. Getting everything done can feel overwhelming, and the race starts when the alarm goes off in the morning. So many of us experience the season in just this way, lengthy to-do lists and juggling priorities. We are squarely in the middle of a time set aside to wait for Christ, and ironically, too often we find ourselves waiting more eagerly for the season to be over and for life to slow down a bit again.
Perhaps you are different, but I find myself talking at Jesus during the day, not spending time with Jesus each day. My to-do list is longer than the hours I have. Everyone’s is at this time of year, I think. Yet, talking at Jesus isn’t enough. We need more than that. The verse above from the Gospel of John is my go-to reminder: “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Nothing. Strong word. But all of our doing amounts to spinning wheels if we are not drawing life from the Source of Life. The vine gives strength and sustenance to the branches, and the outward flow is what bears fruit.
The top of our to-do list needs to be “abide in Jesus,” even if it means we lose a half-hour of sleep. The sustaining and nurturing life that flows from Christ into us is what buoys us and enlivens us, gives us strength and joy, patience and grace. When we abide in Him – live in Him – the to-do list isn’t necessarily shorter, but the resources we bring to our tasks are divine. Literally! We have before us the inexhaustible heart and mind of God to feed and uphold us.
The one thing on your to-do list you cannot afford to ignore is time with Jesus, the intentional abiding in Him that gives everything you do the flair of eternity.
Praying you enjoy your to-do list with Christ this holy season!
In Him, abiding needily and gratefully –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau – © 2019