It is that time of year again – Thanksgiving meals to host, Red Kettles to send out, toys to collect and pick up, volunteers to appreciate and direct…the list goes on.
If you go to The Salvation Army and/or are employed by The Salvation Army, (Officer/Employee/otherwise) you know just how hectic this time of year can become. There are moments when there isn’t enough hours in the day to get what needs to be done completed. We can become harried, worn out and sometimes short-fused.
Sometimes we tend to dread this season of Christmas because we are so very busy. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful thing that we do for people in our communities, but it does come at a cost. We can become jaded by what we do so much so that we lose sight of why we do it in the first place. Sometimes we lose out on precious opportunities because our noses are firmly planted to “the grind”.
Don’t Miss Out!
Here are a few things that I have learned thus far whilst being an Officer, and before that, an Officer’s kid at this time of year:
1. Look up from time to time.
Don’t become so focused on stats and figures and logistics that people get lost in the shuffle. Look up, look into people’s eyes, take a precious moment (not the porcelain figurine) away from the busyness and look up at those around you.
2. Take a minute break – unplug for a short time.
It sounds preposterous to “take a break” during our busiest season, but step outside. Go get a cup of coffee. Do something for ten or fifteen minutes (even an hour if you can afford to) that gets you away from the noise and responsibilities. This is sometimes called “self-care”. It’s maintenance for the mind, soul, body. Breathe.
Again, it sounds funny to say this when we have some many people wanting a moment of our time, but learn to listen…to the right things at the right moment. The Lord DOES place people on our path that edify and encourage us (sometimes those we least suspect), and He also puts certain people on our path that we can help share His hope with. Put down the planner, put down the pen, take your eyes off of the Christmas data entry on the computer…and just listen.
We have a distinct opportunity to reach new believers during this time of year. Sure, there are those few who are “Seasonal Christians” who only come at Christmas and Easter, but there are also some deeply impactful moments that one can have with people who are desperately searching for something meaningful in their lives. We know that Christ is the answer – and we (if we are listening) can spur on those deeply spiritual moments.
4. Intentional Worship
Not only should we anticipate the business of this season, we should also anticipate God’s Holy Presences in our worship. Worship isn’t exclusively what we do on Sunday mornings either. Worship can take place while we drive bell ringers out to their sites – and the conversations that we engage in while in that van. That van can become a sacred space, as sacred as any penitent form or altar.
Let’s face it, we’re all familiar with certain “catch-phrases” or cliches associated with the Christmas season. There’s one particular cliche’ spoken often around this time of year, and it goes like this “Wise men still seek Him” – I’m not one to use these tired phrases, but we DO need to be intentional in our worship of the Most High. There needs to be personal preparation before we come before Him. We ought to check our motives, attitudes, grudges, conflicts at the door and navigate the deep, personal waters of our hearts. We must set aside these sacred spaces within our hearts in order to ensure we aren’t people with divided hearts. We do not want to miss experiencing His presence because we are too busy or too consumed with STUFF.
Questions to Ponder:
Are You Missing Out?
Are you so busy that you actually dread Christmas?
Are Sunday services and other worship opportunities merely a afterthought?
How can you make this Christmas season count?
-There’s nothing specifically special about one specific day, but more people are open to Christ during this time of year.
What would happen if we listened more intently?
Don’t miss out on experiencing His Holy Presence or the opportunity to make a lasting impact on someone’s life because you find yourself too busy at this time of year. Be intentional, be aware and be His Ambassador of grace and peace.
Something more to ponder today!
God Bless You!
The views and opinions expressed on Pastorsponderings.org do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Salvation Army and are the sole property of Scott Strissel. Thanks for reading!