I was reminded of a quote this week, “you are a human being, not a human doing”. I am not sure where it came from, the closest source I could find was Kurt Vonnegut, who said “I am a human being, not a human doing”. These words ring in my ears this time of year. The holidays are busy for everyone, we get caught up in all the things that need to be done. It is a long to-do list, often including travel, or hosting responsibilities. We need to clean and decorate, cook, and shop. We write cards and make phone calls. We organize special parties, events, get-togethers, and gift exchanges. The list seems endless. We do all of this on top of our regular responsibilities of work, family time, general housekeeping, pet care, volunteer obligations and schoolwork. That list also seems endless. It is no wonder that often the holidays turn us into human doings! However, as we approach Advent and Christmas, we need to be reminded that God calls us to live as human beings, not human doings.
Christ entered the world as a human being. The name Emmanuel means “God with us”, not God doing to us. God came to us as a human being in the form of a child in a manager. God is with us as a human, who lived, died and rose again. Part of what made the ministry of Christ so revolutionary were the people he chose to be with. Jesus pushed back against religion that constantly asked us to “do” more instead of simply “be” more. Mary is commended for being with Jesus, while Martha is invited to do less and join in the being.
This holiday, remember God created you to be a human being. Culture tries to create us into human doings. Find ways to simply be with God. God does not ask us to perform or pretend. God doesn’t worry if our gifts are perfectly wrapped, or if the house is clean or if every note is sung perfectly on key. The Emmanuel is with us regardless. This holiday season, relish in being instead of doing.