The Three Rs of Christmas
by Amy Diller
Remember the line from The Night Before Christmas that says, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? If only that were true for ministry leaders during the holiday season! Christmas preparations begin early. Plays, musicals, parties, outreaches, and special services all need planning time amid regular church programming. The to-do lists grow, and we dive right in, only to find ourselves speeding full steam ahead through one of the most significant times of the year. And when Christmas passes, we’re left exhausted and filled with regret that, once again, we didn’t spend the holidays less hurried and more invested in our own families. So, what do we do during such a busy season?
Let’s be honest with one another – sometimes, we thrive on busyness. You feel like the more you accomplish, the better you are as a leader. After all, who doesn’t love to hear the praise of others for all the wonderful things we’re doing? But does an addiction to performance honor the season celebrating the birth of our Savior? Not at all.
It’s time to reprioritize. Allowing church to overshadow your personal well-being and that of your family does not make you a better ministry leader. Not only does it push your and your family’s needs down the list, but it can also move your time with the Lord to a lower priority. Look at everything you’re doing during the holiday season. Where can you simplify? Do the rooms and hallways in your ministry area have to be so decked out you can hardly see beyond the glitter? Do the special activities you’ve planned take away from family time – those you minister to and your own? What can you delegate to others – even if they don’t do it exactly the way you would? View reprioritizing as a non-negotiable.
Falling into the busyness trap must be eliminated from our lives. We have to stop seeing it as a positive trait. It’s not. Busyness means you’ve allowed what’s best to take a back seat to everything else, including your spiritual life, family life, and your health. God has not called us to wear ourselves out in His name. Rest is modeled for us throughout scripture – busyness is not.
Rest isn’t simply finding more time to sleep, although that may be part of what’s needed in a season that likes to promote rushing. Rest is spending time with the Lord regularly, sitting in His presence, and allowing Him to refill you. Rest is enjoying time alone and with family doing things that you love. To enjoy peace in the midst of hurry, rest must be a priority. Don’t feel guilty for letting some things go at church and reallocating the time to refresh your soul.
Eliminating some of the busyness and exhaustion allows you to find rest during the holidays, and it also gives you the opportunity to reflect. Dwelling on God’s goodness to you and your family throughout the past year and reflecting on the gift of Jesus, fulfilling God’s promise to send a Rescuer, bring what’s most important back into the spotlight. Are you enjoying this communion with your Savior? Are you modeling this valuable skill to others – family, coworkers, and the people you minister to? Making regular time to behold God’s faithfulness, majesty, and willingness to dwell among us puts everything into perspective. It allows us to discern God’s best. It’s the silent night and heavenly peace our souls long for.
If you want a different kind of Christmas season this year, you must be willing to be honest with yourself. Be honest about how you really feel about busyness, about your priorities, and whether you make time for reflection on what God’s done and what He’s about to do. Invest in reprioritizing, resting, and reflecting during this special time of year. Don’t allow busyness to steal your joy in the holiday. Not only will you spend more time as a creature not stirring, but you will also be better equipped to minister to your own family and to those at church.