The anticipation is mounting. The energy is building. The finals are finished. And, the sugar is flowing. What does all of this mean but that Christmas break is upon us! It’s the time when schools close, breaks are taken from work, and…well, if I’m honest, I still haven’t decided how I feel about the whole thing.
Christmas Break, or “Winter Break,” as it has recently become known, is something with which I have a love-hate relationship.
Why, in a season of “good tidings,” am I so unsure about whether or not to be excited? It seems to happen to me each year. As I enter into this season of respite from normal patterns and embark upon a slower pace of life, I quickly find myself with an odd sense that something is missing. What is it that causes the onset of this feeling? On the surface, it is the absence of routine and normalcy. But, at the heart of the matter may just be something deeper—my obsession with doing things for Jesus and my discomfort toward simply being with Jesus.
I wonder if you or those you lead anticipate the break because you can’t wait to just do nothing? Put more directly, to be lazy. Or, on the flip side of that, is there anxiety about the break because of your fear of losing productivity? Either of these is an issue of the heart, and Christmas Break may be one of the best times ever for you to consider this.
How do you know? Well, here are a few questions to assess whether or not your heart is ready for Christmas Break?
Is more free time an accelerant or a barrier to time alone with God?
Does my desire for God grow when things are slow and easy?
Do seasons of rest have a tendency to become seasons of laziness?
When things are quiet, do you long for a project or something to accomplish?
Do you re-live and re-tell the stories of your great successes in your downtime?
Do you truly believe that you are daily in need of the all-satisfying grace of Jesus Christ?
What if this Christmas Break was less about you having more down time or doing more stuff? What if this Christmas Break was more about you having more confidence that being with Jesus is the most valuable thing you could do?
What if, this Christmas Break, you hoped for an ever-increasing desire for Jesus? To learn to enjoy Him in the mundane and the complex? To focus more on being with Him than doing things for Him? To rest in His presence while enjoying the goodness of those whose presence He’s put you in?
I encourage you and those you lead to let Jesus not just be the center of your Christmas celebrations, but the center of you entire Christmas season. I’m convinced it’s the only way to take the “hate” out of my love-hate relationship with Christmas Break.
Steven Ackley, his wife Emily, and their four kids live out their love for anything sports and Cookout milkshakes in Murfreesboro, TN where Steven serves as the NextGen and College Pastor at LifePoint Church. Steven holds a D.Min. and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can connect with him on Twitter.