The end of the year, and all of those special activities that dominate our time right now have rightly earned the title “the holiday rush.”  We are motivated by a strong desire to get everything just right, to get everything ready on time, and to get things completed as the year comes to an end. It is quite easy to get so wrapped up in all the activity that we lose sight of what’s most important about the holiday season to begin with.

And then we remember that one short verse: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

Which is why spending time with your kids doing next to nothing still matters. It’s why catching up with an old friend on the phone for a few minutes is worth the time invested. It’s why the holiday cards that arrive via post or email are worth taking the time to read.

Being still may mean looking out the window at the weather, or people-watching on a bench at the mall. It may mean getting out an old album and listening to it again, or spending time in the kitchen recreating an old family recipe. It could mean catching up on a neglected hobby, or watching a favorite old film with those you love.

Being still definitely means spending time with the sacred scriptures, and closing your eyes to the world while opening your heart to God in quiet moments of prayer. It can be easier to be still while sitting in a church or synagogue—or in the quiet of the morning before the first news report or email or Facebook post.

And here’s the important thing about all of these things (and the holiday rush, too, for that matter): regardless of what you are doing or not doing, there is something to be learned by a few seconds of stillness. New insights can be found in just about every moment, every activity. Amid the busiest time, in the most hectic moments, and especially when the pressure is on—we can choose at any moment to be still. To be quiet and settled and to focus on what matters most.

Easy to say; hard to do. But well worth the effort every time.