Revised post from December 2012
“Focus, Silas, focus,” seems to play like a broken record around our house these days. Off to accomplish the simple instruction to brush his teeth, which should be a quiet affair. From the bathroom, I hear singing and the countertop has become the little drummer boy’s drum.
Instead of yelling from the kitchen, I decide to look him eye to eye. The focusing lecture spills of my lips and Silas’ innocent serious face peers back at me, he is up on his tippy toes with fist clenched tight to his chest, “but it is so hard,” he pleas. “All I can think about is Christmas!”
Silas is not the only one with focus problems. Helping out with extra projects around the church, concerts, recitals, extra practices, shopping, unplanned doctor’s appointments and working in that last hair appointment. Then there is that baking spree we didn’t have time for, but did anyway. Now to bag, wrap and deliver along with personal notes of gratitude and appreciation.
My mind has been swirling in so many different directions; one thought collides into another. I process and plan and try to remember all the things I am sure I will forget, stress begins to creep up my back and my jaws begin to tighten.
As the countdown to December 25th gets closer the fullness of the schedule tips the scales. While sitting at a red light, I whispered a prayer of desperation, “I can’t do this.” I heard, “focus.”
Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ Matthew 1:23
Look, behold, or see are the possible translations for the first word in this verse. The word is in imperative voice which demands our attention be focused solely on what is about to be declared.
Focus is a simple word yet a powerful word that can overhaul our entire mindset. “Immanuel, God with us,” we hear this often during the Christmas season. A reminder of Who we celebrate at Christmas and how He chose to become like us, be with us, live among us.
Focus is a shift in our thoughts to concentrate on a particular thing. Silas needed to focus on brushing his teeth. I also needed to focus on the task at hand rather than the multitude of other tasks fighting for priority on my “to do” list.
Focus is a shift in our attention to concentrate on the One who is with us, me. At every stop, before every meeting and store and appointment, I paused. I thanked God for what had just occurred and invited Him to join me in the next moment.
God is with me, but it is my choice to focus on His presence in all I do. So together we went to a hair appointment, a meeting, to Hobby Lobby, a doctor’s appointment, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and then to pick up kids, dinner and more. With every pause, every choice to acknowledge God’s presence with me, my thoughts did not collide as much, the stress crept up less and the jaws were not as tight.
With this type of focus, I experienced joy. It was like a buffer to all the traffic and people and the coming and going and the list. I am not so sure Christmas can be stress free. Perhaps the problem is we focus too much on the stress, what causes it and trying to avoid it.
Focus less on stress, focus more on Immanuel. God in the moment now. God with you now. Go ahead, start right now. He is already here with you, you only need to shift your focus to Him. With every shift of your focus, a fragment of stress dissipates.
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BLOG SCHEDULE: Please enjoy hope through short Pict Post burst and revisiting previous blogs every Monday. A new series of hope will begin in January 2021. My devotional style blogs are committed to bring you hope. Check this one out, 3 Ways to Regain Control Of Your Thoughts.