Our Best Holiday Interruption

Imagine this.  

You are frantically finishing your work as the year-end deadline approaches, you still have a number of Christmas gifts sitting unwrapped in your living room, you barely have time to attend your next get together with friends.  Then just as you have finalized your hectic schedule, your perfect plan gets interrupted. 

About two weeks ago, I was re-introduced to a parable that I have heard a hundred times in Sunday School. It was the parable of the good Samaritan.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” 
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In Christine Caine's book, Undaunted, she tells of how God spoke to her through this parable by emphasizing the phrase found in verse 34. "He went to him" 

Four simple words.  But that was all it took to set the Samaritan apart from the priest and the Levite.   Christine shared how the Lord impressed a message upon her when she read this verse (I have rephrased it a bit but the message remains the same):

“The only difference between the Samaritan and the religious people was that the Samaritan crossed the street.  The Samaritan was willing to have his plans interrupted.  He did not only stop but stooped down to help the broken man.  Stopping and Stooping are two very different things.  Because compassion is only an emotion until you cross the street. Then it becomes an action.” 

The priest and the Levite were not necessarily evil people. They were just busy people who refused to be interrupted.   
We do not always welcome interruptions. Unfortunately, through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the last thing that we allow ourselves to be interrupted with are the unspoken (or sometimes spoken) requests of our children to stop and spend more time with them.  When you go home tired with a thousand and one things on your to-do list, playing football for an hour or redecorating your daughter's dollhouse for the nth time do not rank high on the priority list. Often times, our children get whatever is left of our time and, more often than not, have to contend with a stressed out parent.

With that realization, Dens and I made a conscious decision this year to spend more fun, un-stressed, and un-interrupted time with the kids.  Regardless of the season, they do not deserve our spare time. This does not mean we will skip Christmas dinners with friends. It simply means we aim to arrange our schedule wisely so that there is still sufficient time spent with the children.

This holiday season, let us build beautiful Christmas memories for our Children.  Let them not remember Christmas as a time when their parents are most stressed out.  Spend more time with them. They are the interruptions that matter the most.

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