Look at the candy cane with those adorable kids riding upon it! Doesn't that look like a positively marvelous activity? This ceramic piece has been in my family since the early 60's. It was one of my favorite Christmas decorations that adorned our house while I was growing up. The leader used to have a golden star wand. That disappeared years ago through the many moves. It is also glued together in several places, but I love the wonderful whimsy of the idea of a candy cane flying through the air with cherubs enjoying the ride!
I would love to fly away on a candy cane right now. A little escapism sounds pretty good. Tonight we had our church board meeting. We had it here at the house in a much more informal setting to simply create a different mood and have more of a round table discussion than an actual board meeting There is no major business that is pressing down on us, just the simple, every day work of the church and all of its myriad challenges! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the day to day tasks of my life. I said to someone tonight, "What I really want is a month off work to be at home and get everything in order. Then, I want a month at work without Sunday responsibilities so I can get my office whipped into shape." Neither is probably going to happen as life moves along at a fairly rapid pace these days. The core meaning of my desire for some undemanded time at home and at work is rooted in a deep felt need I have to get my house in order, both literally and figuratively. I feel like my schedule has me by the tail at this point and I lack a sense of intention and control over my time and tasks. Much of what I do is fruitful and fulfilling. And I don't feel overworked, per se. But I do feel over demanded and sometimes I wonder how to choose to go about meeting the various demands, some important, some pressing, some not either but in my face making it hard to get to the critical core stuff. And I also know that in the midst of all of the demands, I can still waste time, messing around on Facebook, beating my friends at Scrabble, (getting beat as well) and trying to get a higher score on Geo Challenge. All non-worthy pursuits in the midst of life's real demands. But I feel challenged to know what is truly wasting time and what is doing something that ultimately provides rest and restoration? Is it ever OK to just escape into a world where you spend your time doing stuff that has no eternal value? Perhaps sometimes we have to do the mindless in order to do the mindful really well.
Perhaps Mary and Joseph, in the midst of the demands they felt while waiting to become parents to the incarnate God of the universe also needed mindless diversions. Maybe they played cards, maybe they counted sheep. Maybe they found silly ways to release the pressure they felt in their situation in order to be more fully present when the Son of God arrived in their midst.
We all need diversions and times of mindless rest. We just need to be sure that our end game is to be restored so that we are rested and ready when God calls upon us to take part in a demanding task that requires our full obedience and willingness or decides to reveal something to us that will require a certain mental capacity to fully take in. If the mindless helps you create space for the mindful, then hop on a candy cane and let her fly. Just be sure you know how to return to a place of quiet rest, ready to hear and obey God's calling.