Christmas is either a time where you ramp things up to â€œcrazy levelâ€ or a time when things slow down just a bit. Of course this mostly depends on your church culture, events, and expectationsâ€”but weâ€™re thankful youâ€™ve given us another minute of your time as we end 2012 together with a celebration of the birth of Christ.
As you prepare for the candlelight service at your churchâ€”or perhaps youâ€™re reading this from your iPhone as you drive to Idaho to be with family this weekâ€”here are a few reminders in this season full of presents.
Be present with your family.â€¨ Take the next few days, when the whole country slows down, to be with familyâ€¦and really be with family. Break out the video camera; leave your phone on â€œDo Not Disturbâ€ a little more often; really be present with the people who love you the most. And, if your idea of â€œpresentâ€ means paying attention to the family festivities in hopes of capturing the perfect Instagram moment, you are missing the point entirely!
Be present in your ministry.â€¨ One of the benefits to being present with your family, and a little disengaged from church during the holidays, is that it can create a new sense of hunger for ministry heading into the new year. Take advantage of the slower (we hope) ministry season to prayerfully consider what the next year holds and how you can engage more fully and effectively as it begins.
Be present to listen. â€¨Too often we focus on volunteers and students and the next big overnighter in our ministry and donâ€™t take the time to really listen as we walk hurriedly to the next big thing. Take some time to listen over the breakâ€”listen to what parents are saying, listen to students a little more closely, and listen to Godâ€™s voice speaking life and guidance into your heart and ministry. Be present in Godâ€™s presence.
Merry Christmas! Looking forward to a great 2013 together, too!
This interviewÂ originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.