Immediately Mom at Christmas

IMG_1155You wake up, and immediately do your devotions before the children stir. They stir. They want breakfast immediately. Immediately after they eat, you get them ready and out the door to school before cleaning up the cereal that the toddler spilled. The dog needs to be let out immediately.

Life can feel that way, can’t it? For moms, sometimes days are just a series of “immediately’s.” This is especially true during the holidays: immediately after the shopping is done, there’s the music program, then gifts to wrap, then immediately to bed because people are coming tomorrow and there’s a lot of food to finish before they arrive. As soon as we finish one thing, two more are waiting for us. Immediately.

Listen to this description of Jesus’s work in just 11 verses from Mark 1: “…immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat… and followed him. And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching… And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit… And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up…”

Jesus knows “immediately.” He lived through it on this earth just like we do. But there are differences between His “immediately’s” and ours.

First, the immediate did not overwhelm Him. This fallen world is full to the brim with “immediately’s” because there are so many needs, so much work to be done. But regardless of the number of “immediately’s” in a passage, Jesus is never overwhelmed or panicked about all the things He could or should do. We do sometimes see our Lord tired, but always steadily doing what He was supposed to. He did not do everything; He did the Father’s will. Have you felt overwhelmed this holiday by everything that needs to be done? As mothers, we can do what we specifically have been called to do, too, knowing that we only need to obey for us. Whatever God wants us to get done in a day, we will be able to do. That doesn’t mean that we will conquer that to-do list; it means that we are mortal and can do our work without freaking out because God has set our physical and mental limitations. We can’t serve everyone; we can’t meet all the needs; we can’t fix all the relationship problems; we can’t make all the food; we can’t shovel the pathway fast enough. The “immediate” things in our day do not all need us to deal with them, and we do not need to be overwhelmed by them.

Second, the immediate did not rule Him. When we do feel overwhelmed by all the immediate demands, we need to remember Christ’s example. Because Jesus is not overwhelmed by the immediate needs around Him, He can rule them instead of having circumstances rule His schedule. Did you notice in that passage that Jesus clearly initiates the first several immediately’s happen by calling the disciples, then going to teach in the synagogue? He chose what to do immediately. Because He understood His mission, He could say “no” to the countless needs around Him (that He could have met!) in order to pursue the truly important immediate. He prioritized perfectly. We can’t, but we can get better at it. How can you rule your “immediately’s” this Christmas? Identifying what Scripture (not Pinterest) calls us to do this holiday season brings clarity.

Third, the immediate was a tool. For Jesus, “immediately” was an aspect of fruitfulness, not a path to burn-out. Jesus did not hang around waiting for the Jews to come and hear His teaching: He went to them immediately. After the work was done in the synagogue, Jesus and His disciples needed rest, so they went immediately to get it at Simon and Andrew’s home. Because the immediate did not dictate to Jesus, He could use it to utilize the time He had on earth. Preaching was a priority. Training the disciples was a priority. Those were the big “immediately’s”. Then came other things. Christ’s understanding of His earthly work, His focus on the truly important, freed Him to concentrate on essential things immediately! Maybe, as a mom, we should have a chat when we tuck in our daughter, despite the guests downstairs. Maybe we need to do the dishes (cheerfully) when everyone else is watching something hilarious on youtube.

Jesus was God incarnate. We are sinful humans. That is why there are differences between the ways that we face “immediately.” There are times when we do feel overwhelmed. We do not understand our mission perfectly, or what it looks like to carry it out. We will not always focus on the priority that we should, either because we are not sure about it, or because we ignore or replace it.

But mom, when you do feel your mortality this Christmas because of the “immediately” screaming in your face, remember that Jesus knows what it feels like and understands the temptations that you face in this specific area. He can sympathize with our weaknesses precisely because He was incarnate, living a life of perfect obedience in this frenzied world so that we can find forgiveness when we do not. He has also promised to give us the grace we need for each day to walk obediently before Him.