The One Central Truth

We’re only a few days away from Christmas Day. You can feel it in the air. People are more hurried, yet often more pleasant. People are excited for the advent of traditional scenes, giving of gifts, smelling and consuming of comfort foods, and all that comes along with the several days that surround the day we celebrate Christ’s birth.

Just 15 minutes ago on my short drive to work I passed what I would categorize as a little worse than a fender bender. One car was turned sideways across the two lanes and the other car involved was sitting in a side street. I slowed down as I approached; clearly this accident was only a few minutes old. One man was standing in the road, presumably the owner of the car in the middle of the road. He was on his cell phone when I rolled slowly to a stop, put my window down and asked, “You okay? You need anything?” With a remarkable smile on his face he replied, “No, I’m all good! Thank you!” I wonder if we were in the depths of February or the midst of May, would his response have been so chipper?

There’s a truth that permeates this season, whether it is acknowledged or not. Like a bike tire with a hundred thin spokes all connected to one hub that holds them all together, so are our activities, busyness, and traditions of the Christmas season when it relates to this one central truth. Without the hub, the rest of it would be utterly meaningless.

Here is the truth hub. I hope (but never assume) that through this blog you have caught glimpses of it if not been outright smacked in the face with it by way of things I’ve written in the past…

Because of God’s immeasurable love for humanity, and in light of our sinfulness that has created a separation between us and Him–a distance we could never do anything about on our own–He sent the Way for us to be reunited with Him: That Way is Jesus. Jesus was God among us; God with us. Jesus grew, lived, loved, healed, taught, served, died, and rose again to complete the very mission God the Father sent Him to accomplish. And because of Jesus’ birth and completed mission, you and I can have all that God desires to give us right here and right now. In this season of traditions, blurry hurriedness, pop songs that pay lip service to what its all about, and our insatiable appetite for our own comfort, we gaze into a stone trough that held a human baby that contained all of Divinity in fragile bone, soft skin, and the helplessness of a held child. Help came to us and through His birth and our faith placed in Who He is, we are made alive in Him. Apart from Him, though we may amass to ourselves the stuff of success as the world sees it, we are completely lost and empty.

In this Christmas season, I pray that beyond all the things to check off on your task list and on all the wish lists, that we may return to the center and embrace the person of Jesus. He is the Center, the Hope, the Healing, the Messiah promised to us in Genesis 3, and the One who holds all we need for all we face.

Start with a better towel.

I don’t know where we got the towel. All I know is that as I headed from my bed to the shower one morning, I was going to need a towel. So on my way, I stopped by the towel shelf. The one I grabbed was a vibrant blue color, like a blue jay blue. Beautiful blue. Start-your-day blue. Towel in hand, I headed to the shower.

After my shower, I reached for the blue towel on the towel rod outside the shower. I started using the towel to dry off. Blecht. This towel isn’t great. I mean it’s an okay towel but I feel like it’s moving water around more than absorbing it. I thought to myself, “Life’s too short to use okay towels.” So I after that one use, I swapped it out for a less-blue (okay, it wasn’t blue at all) but more effective, nicer feeling towel. And I haven’t looked back.

Things that look good aren’t always actually good. You probably already knew that.

But more than that, there are certain things that shouldn’t be chinsed on. I think towels should be on the list of things not to cut corners on. A few other things I’ve learned fall squarely into the “you get what you pay for” category: saran wrap, cheese, trash bags, and most electronics. What would you add to that list?

This whole towel situation got me thinking the other day. Are there more small tweaks I can and should make throughout my day in order to see a significant shift in overall quality and enjoyability of life?

*Let me note here: I am NOT a diva, a snob, or a jerk. I’m not advocating that you live a life “ensconced in velvet” like George Costanza. No, not that at all. But I do think simple adjustments make life better.

Here are a few things I think would improve most people’s lives, if put into practice regularly:

  1. Make your bed. You’ll start your day feeling on top of things.
  2. Cut your hair. As a bald man, this one’s easy. But I do think when we feel attractive and put together, we carry ourselves differently.
  3. Get dressed. My work has no expectation of “dressing up” but every so often I like to take it up a notch. Because I like to feel dressed up.
  4. Back your car into your driveway at night. You’ll start the day feeling like Batman zipping out of the Batcave, off to save the world.
  5. Make a smoothie. The vitamins and nutrients in there and the fact that you made that yourself will both give you a pep in your step as you head out the door.
  6. Listen to experts. Pick 2-3 podcasts that can serve as a kickstart to your day. I like Jon Acuff’s “All It Takes Is A Goal” podcast. I also like Carey Nieuwhof’s “Leadership Podcast”. Generally, Jon’s episodes fit nicely into my commute and Carey’s are a bit longer.
  7. Make lunch before bed. Or take anything you can from the morning routine and put it in the before-bed routine. This includes planning your outfit. You’ll start the day with less to decide/think about.
  8. Smile more. Force it. The very act of smiling releases endorphins into your system that will make you happier. Imagine that: smiling makes you happier. Isn’t science great?
  9. Compliment someone. “But no one compliments me!”, you say? Be the type of person you’d like to run into.
  10. Pray. There is unspeakable freedom and joy you’ll find by simply starting your day acknowledging that while you don’t know what the day holds, you know the One who does and you know He’s with you and He’s for you.

None of these things will cost you any more than you’re paying now. But each of them has potential to give your day a bump before it even really starts. What would/do you do in order to invest a little but reap a lot?