Life coaches tell us to distinguish the important over the urgent. They remind us that whilst we must do the urgent things, if we neglect the important then things eventually go wrong. The bible agrees, telling us that it’s good to prioritise (eg. Matthew 6:33) and to to think well (eg. Romans 12:2). So on this first day of Advent, what is urgent, and what is important?

We now have four and a half weeks or so to get ready for Christmas. What’s on your to-do list? For many of us it’ll be things like: buy presents. Decorate the homes. Tidy things up at work ready for a short break. Attend Christmas dos. Those are all good. But the fact that they’re on our to-do list shows they’re probably more urgent than important.

So what’s important? Here are three things. Three things I don’t want to neglect in Advent. (And I offer a few questions you might want to ask relating to each):

1) Don’t neglect the heart
Look at the state of your heart. Is it contented? Is it full of joy? Or fear? Do you see bitterness or grace? If you observe things inside that you don’t like, this is a great season for some heart-surgery.

2) Don’t neglect people
People matter at Christmas. Whilst you can’t spend time with everybody, are you willing to carve out some quality time for people in this season? Not just friends (although don’t forget them!) but family (even the difficult ones), and even work-colleagues, neighbours and someone who is lonely, poor or homeless. A listening ear and a kind word is often just what people need.

3) Don’t neglect God
God loves to speak at Advent. Are you listening? Are you praying? Will you make time each day to read the Scriptures and allow his word to cleanse your heart and affect your thoughts and actions?

These are three important Advent things that so easily get lost in the urgency of the season.

May you have a very happy and important Advent.