I don’t know where this holiday season leaves you. Whether you are:
• excited about the coming celebrations
• sad because your world has been rocked by a personal trauma
• fearful or upset about something in the news
• carrying the weight of being a family event planner and/or peacemaker
• exhausted at the thought of all that needs doing, buying and making in the next few weeks
Keep reading. There is real hope to be had.
Just like with all the electronics we rely upon, sometimes, when things start to get off track, not running quite right, or stuck in the endless loading, scrolling feature, our first inclination is to turn them off, take a pause, reboot and then power back on. I would submit to you that this is exactly what needs to happen in your life and mine right now.
Reboot your Christmas.
Unplug yourself from whatever has you running so hard – even for just a few minutes – even if that means hiding in the closet from all your relatives or being five minutes late for something or (gasp) not showing up with whatever baked good/gift/donation you committed to bring.
1. Recognize and acknowledge that something is not working here. Turn everything off that constitutes noise for you for just a few minutes.
2. Take a deep breath. Count to ten as you breathe in. Count to ten as you breathe out. Repeat, repeatedly.
3. During the pause, concentrate on God and His goodness in your life. God intends Christmas to be the ultimate expression of His loving kindness and mercy toward us, not something to have to “get through”. Think of the emotions God went through in working out the plan of sending His Son to save us.
4. Rehearse and recount all the blessings He has given you – even the ones that require effort on your part (Btw, those are the ones that end up growing you).
5. Lay down all your fears, efforts and exhaustion. Cast your cares on Him. He, alone, knows your heart and how very hard you try. If someone else is pleased by you or what you do, well, that’s just icing on the cake. Reflect on the fact that you are really, ultimately, just trying to please Him, anyway. Jesus has been human and knows how it feels to not deliver what people are expecting. Like Him, give them the thing they need more: love.
6. Be brave enough to enforce “tough love” on your schedule and that of your family. Leave room for your own rest and a reasonable bed time. Just like with our phones, sometimes we have to close or delete apps to get an ultimately better performance. Power your own self off sometimes.
7. As your break here draws to an end, reflect and thank God for this time, this season and the people who populate it, even (especially) if it is a busy one with too much to do and not enough you. Life can turn on a dime. There is no guarantee that your life will look the same by this time next year. You may look back and think that this was one of the best times in your life and you weren’t even present enough to realize or appreciate it.
8. Whisper a prayer. Pray blessings on others, extend forgiveness to an enemy and ask for strength to love others more.
9. Power back on by finding a promise or a verse in the Bible that exemplifies God’s character and goodness toward you in this moment. Reflect on this with a smile as you rejoin your life already in progress.