'Tis the Season…
The Advent Season is upon us! For many of us it means we have more events and services to plan and orchestrate. It is a busy time of year and we can easily get swept away in the busyness and not appreciate or enjoy one of the most precious and special seasons for Christ Followers. The season of Advent marks a time of preparation and anticipation for the coming of Christmas, the coming of Christ. In our churches we will light Advent Candles and have special musical presentations, children, youth and family activities and special worship services. In our homes we will decorate, shop, bake, and clean to prepare for Christmas.
This all makes me realize we are way too busy and there is a huge trap set especially for those of us in ministry. As I was working hard not to fall into the trap myself, I was reminded of one of my favorite students I affectionately called, "Over-Commitment Boy." He was in all Advanced Placement classes, involved in every youth ministry event we had going, played in the Praise Band, the High School marching band, was involved in student leadership, had his own band, was in Academic Clubs and of course as any normal teenager, wanted to hang out with his friends whenever they called. I was often counseling him when he felt overwhelmed and knew he couldn’t do it all – he would struggle with saying NO and really wanted to do it all because he truly enjoyed it and didn’t want to miss anything. I coached him on how to say NO, and how to give himself permission not to participate in absolutely everything (yes even skip youth group once in a while). We spent many hours talking about what should be priority and how to take a break from time to time. I am happy to say, he learned how to better manage all the things he wanted to do.
I, on the other hand, did not learn so well and have already overcommitted myself this month. As I am working on climbing out of the trap, I wanted to offer you all fair warning to not fall in!! Some of us cannot wait until "it’s all over!" I know there are some things you must do this season; still, I want to encourage you to talk to your spouse or best friend to help keep you out of the trap. Make a list of all the things you need to do and review it together, have them help you say NO to things you don’t really need to be doing and how to prioritize the rest. Work out a plan with your spouse and children for the extra home activities so that you all can enjoy the season and each other. When planning extra activities and worship services at church; enlist as much help as possible, especially your students. This is a great time to have them share in the responsibility and joy of planning, organizing and working on extra events. This can be a great way to help them truly participate and understand the season of Advent. Share the joy of anticipation and preparation with your students, parents and partners in ministry. This should not be a time of great burden, but a time of great joy!
My prayer for you is that you are able to take time to enjoy the season, enjoy the feeling of anticipation and excitement, and that as each day brings us closer to Christmas Day you may find true joy in celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.