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In a Hurry.

It’s easy to feel like a squirrel this time of year. Running from here to there without much thought, discipline, or peace but rather a timely to-do list that must be accomplished and completed before the due date. It seems that this is often the approach we have when entering advent. And the earlier the Christmas decor hits the shelf, the earlier this sense of rush and determination hits our hearts. But today I read the story of the 5000 with a different light. They too were in a hurry.

In Mark, we find the people rushing together to get to Jesus. Yes, they were running around to get to the right person as we are often running to the stores. But for most of us who read this blog, we too have Jesus on our minds. He is the reason we do gifts. He is the reason we celebrate this time of year. But somewhere amidst the rushing and the planning, we often forget our reason.

We get lost in the hurry.

I imagine that although these people were rushing to hear from Jesus, they too had forgotten their purpose. Oppression was deep in their world. Times were tough. Provisions were scarce. And although their hunger for Jesus was evident, I have a sense that they too were depleted beyond measure, hence the run toward the man they believed to be their Messiah.

The disciples saw this hustle and bustle and decided to go to a remote place for rest. They too, recognized the need for “stillness” in such a busy pace of life. But the crowd beat them there. The busyness followed them.

I can relate. As much as I try to enter this Advent season with a sense of peace and rest, I always find myself wrestling with all of the to-dos. Rest is what I seek, but busyness always seems to follow me no matter the remote place I find. This was the same with the disciples, but rather than running away, Jesus embraced it. The busyness followed him, but he saw this as an opportunity.

This season provides opportunity.

Opportunity may come in the people you encounter at your favorite stores. This opportunity may be at your dinner table with loved ones you haven’t seen in a year. Or even better, this opportunity may transform your own heart like it did the disciples when they saw one of the greatest (and personally one of my favorites) miracles in the Bible.

These busy people were in such a hurry, that they scurried to a remote place without packing a lunch. Or possibly times were so desperate that lunch was the least of their worries. Either way, they found themselves lacking the provision they needed for the day.

But Jesus.

The Bible describes the compassion that Jesus had for these people as “moved to the bowels.” That’s deep. He saw them as people without a shepherd. So he decided to feed them. First, spiritually, and then literally.

God cares about our hearts, souls, and our TANGIBLE needs.

Christmas is often a time of abundance. Lots of food around the table. Gifts under the trees. Decorations and lights. But often it is a place of scarcity. A dirty manger with just enough. Sometimes Christmas is spent buying what we think everyone else needs while putting our own family finances in jeopardy. Leaving us wondering how we will pay our bills in the New Year. I imagine that these people who followed Jesus to the remote place came with abundance and lack.

And Jesus was there for BOTH.

Jesus gave the people what their hearts needed through His teaching. But then they realized how hungry they were. Sometimes when we seek the spiritual, it may appear on the outside that we are neglecting the natural. When we seek God first, we may be asked to put work aside. We may have to-dos that don’t get done. We may have to ignore the dishes or the wrapping of gifts. Or like these people, we may have to ignore the tangible needs we have and seek Christ first. Your situation may be so bleak that Christ is your last resort. Looking UP is your only option.

The Good News is Jesus provides.

He is still providing today. In this miracle, Jesus took 5 loaves and 2 fish. I can’t help but realize that 5 plus 2 equals 7. Seven is the number of completion and the days of the week. Jesus provides DAILY until completion. Therefore…

Jesus is always enough.

Jesus blessed the food, broke the bread, and gave in groups. Jesus doesn’t give for just ourselves but for the community around us. So as we hustle and bustle this time of year in order to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us all remember the community around us. Take time to notice the homeless man or woman on the street corner. Take time to visit the shelter or the foster closet that needs donations. Ask Jesus what you need to make time for in this season.

And then watch Him multiply your blessing.

I fully believe that as we choose to bless others with our words, our time, and our resources He will multiply our own blessings– Our Christmas will become more purposeful, filled with peace, and truly become the most MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS.

Wade and Tiffany Nagy