My first pastor, Stuart Briscoe, who was born in England, used to talk about our cultures obsession with the “spirit of Christmas.” The “spirit of Christmas” is something we all long for. It’s that attitude that overtakes us with kindness, generosity, peace, goodwill and warm relationships each year around the time of the winter solstice. But what our hearts really long for is not, “the spirit of Christmas” but rather the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a commercial product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine Person.
Its not about an annual event, it is about Christ’s perpetual indwelling power through the Holy Spirit. The only power through which we might be changed.
My life is a little crazy these days. Here is why: Besides co-leading a church with Tim, my family and I are moving into the church parsonage in January. I am involved in running a small side business we own, we are adopting a child, I am mom to a boy who is straddling the line between baby and toddler, and it’s almost Christmas. So, I’ve decided to create a little list of instructions for myself to follow this month – just so I can be present and connected to God through Advent and keep everything in perspective when life is full.
Gentle reminders to myself for surviving the holidays:
- Go to your small group and tell everyone how you’re really doing, even if you sound stupid, or cry, or think they think you’re something other than fine.
- Avoid Pinterest for vague dreaming that only leaves you feeling inadequate.
- Use Pinterest only if you will actually implement a brilliant idea like removing some foul mildew smell in your towels. (http://pinterest.com/pin/260153315946229335/)
- End the phone call before walking into the house after work.
- Leave the phone on the counter when playing with Russell in his room. Sit on the floor with him, and whatever you do, do not try to multi-task when you are with him because you’ll be frustrated, both he and the task will suffer, and you might miss something so special.
- Walk the dog with Tim and Russell every morning, and wear warm clothes so that you can actually enjoy it.
- Let yourself cry when you see the kids in your neighborhood walking into school, and you imagine Russell being that big and independent some day.
- Call Mom.
- Don’t start thinking it’s a good idea to bake a lot right now when you read that foodie blog.
- When crazy kicks in, take a deep breath, put your feet flat on the floor, and deeply breathe in the presence of God here and now.
- Accept that there are only 24 hours in this day, relinquish the list, and trust that you are right where you are supposed to be. Then say your prayers, kiss Tim, and let the bed hold you up before falling asleep.
What gentle reminders are you giving yourself these days? I’d love to hear!