In the next couple of days many congregations will have a special service on Christmas Eve and then turning around the next morning for Sunday morning services. This is in addition to having been working at a furious pace with all of the activities and demands for the past several weeks. But even after the Christmas services are done the pace probably won’t slack up because of family and friendship events. It is enough to take the wind out of anyone’s sails. So what do you do to not be overwhelmed? Here are 4 suggestions to put at the top of your list of things to focus on in the next two weeks:
1. Pause: Take a few moments to ‘breathe’. Pause to be refreshed by the Spirit. Before your next service or demand pause to regain your focus and to recall what it is all about. Pause so that you can join the moment. Don’t just move from thing to thing carrying out your role but take time to be able to really join in what is taking place and being celebrated.
Also, very soon take a day or at least half a day to refocus and renew yourself. This would probably best be in the first week of January after of the hectic work and family events are done. The past couple of months demand that you run at a draining pace and you need to make time to fill yourself up physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritual.
2. Celebrate: Take a few moments to celebrated! It can be easy for church staff members or church leaders to get caught up in the activities that have to be done and so miss out on the rejoicing. This isn’t to say that you are not sincere in what you are leading or doing but only that it can be hard to fully share in the celebration. So be sure to stop and recall what it is all about and to ‘feel’ the awe, the gratitude, the hope, and the love that God showered down with Christ’s birth!
3. Attend: Pay attention to those who are often sidelined during the rush of November and December. Family and friends can pay a price as you provide the expected and needed ministry of this season. This is often a gift that is given joyfully but it does come with some disappointments and some unmet longings. So take some time to attend to these individuals with energy and focus (not with leftover time and low energy). Maybe pick up a card for a spouse expressing gratitude. Maybe a phone call to a friend or a cup of hot chocolate (I’m not a coffee drinker) or soda. Maybe watch a 30 minute show or play a game with your kids. You may not be able to do this before Sunday but in the week after be sure to give some special time and attention to these people who are so important to your life.
4. Connect: Make some time for just you and God. We are proclaiming the news that God sends and so we need to connect with our God so that we are filled to the brim with it. We also personally need to hear that Good News. What for you is the Good News God is proclaiming to your right now?
Thank you for your service to Christ during this special and demanding season! May God fill you with the Good News so that all that you see may overflow with joy and hope.
December 23, 2011