Last year I read a book called Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Basically, the entire book teaches about the importance of living your life doing only what is essential.
This culture so easily makes us believe that anything and everything is important, and sadly we buy into this lie. As a result, we live our lives running around like chickens with our heads chopped off, without purpose, without focus, without vision, and Essentialism encourages the reader to ask themselves what is actually essential in the midst of it all.
The book is a leadership / personal development book, but I believe the message applies to every area of life – including faith and especially Christmas!
Given the season, I decided to read Essentialism again.
Once again I was encouraged.
Once again I was inspired.
Once again I was challenged to return to what truly matters.
“What can we do to be fully present on what is in front of us? Figure out what is most important right now.” -Greg McKeown
Here is an excerpt from Greg’s book…
Recently I taught a full day on essentialism to an executive team in New York. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt present throughout. But by the time I returned to my room I felt a sudden pull in a million directions. Everything around me was a reminder of all the things I could be doing.
Check my email.
Listen to messages.
Read a book I felt obligated to read.
Prepare a presentation for a few weeks from now.
Record interesting ideas that had grown out of the day’s experiences.
It wasn’t just the sheer number of things that felt overwhelming, it was that familiar stress of many tasks vying for top billing at the same time.
As I felt the anxiety and tension rise, I stopped.
I knelt down.
I closed my eyes and asked, “What’s important now?”
After a moment of reflection, I realized, that until I knew what was important right now, what was important right now was to figure out what was important right now.
I stood up.
I tidied up.
I opened my journal and wrote about the day.
“When faced with so many tasks and obligations that you can’t figure out which to tackle first, stop. Take a deep breath. Get present in the moment and ask yourself, ‘What is most important this very second?’ Not what’s most important tomorrow, or even an hour from now, but right now.”
I now pose that question to you about Christmas.
What is most important this very season?
In stopping to ask yourself this very question, you are actually drawing your attention back to what truly matters and choosing to make Christmas a time of peace.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27
Christmas idea: spend time outside – away from all the madness, the rush, the frenzy of malls, halls and parking lots. And as Greg suggests: stop, take a deep breath and get present in beautiful moments of nature.
Christmas prayer: Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of peace. Thank you that when I ask for it, You are more than willing to speak calm to my heart and thoughts. Stir my mind to think upon things that matter to You. Stir my heart to remember what’s most valuable to You. Stir my soul to reflect on peace and what You came to offer this world. May my Christmas reflect one that is intentional about offering peace to everyone I come in contact with. Amen.