For the two weeks before Christmas of 2015, I was so sick that I had to cancel all my plans. I bought plane tickets, reserved studio recording time, took off work, and had mega-packed my schedule to perfection. None of it happened. Instead of my multi-tasked, double booked, work hard/play hard schedule–I had only enough energy to get out of the house to buy a few Christmas gifts. Mostly, I laid around the house resting and enjoying the company of a few of my favorite people—and–I spent a lot of time talking with God. Much of the time it was just Him and me. It was one of my most wonderful Christmases ever because God reminded me of what I was missing. He taught me how to live.

As I was held captive in my home by the weariness in my body, the noise of the world died away and in the silent stillness God taught me and refreshed my soul. I was reminded of the immense value of listening to God as written in Psalms: “be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10) We are so often driven by the necessity of making a living that we forget how to live. When we are forced to stop our frantic pace, God focuses us upon what is important. God’s perspective enlightens us. He clarifies life. He gives us His wisdom and HIS peace. When illness shut down my plans, I learned that Christmas was actually more perfect without all my plans. I’m still learning. It’s a lesson worth applying all year long. Life is more perfect when we slow down and listen to God.

The celebration of Christ’s birth is a time when many of us don’t have to work. We have down time and the opportunity to savor the moments rather than blast by them. It’s a perfect opportunity to get to know God better. Is there anyone else we’d rather know than Him? Christ is our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6a) He is worthy of our most passionate pursuit and our greatest plans. When we are close to Him, we learn how to REALLY live!