Dreadful or Delightful? Perspectives for a God-honoring Christmas
By Dan Qurollo
Is it not hard to believe that 2019 is nearly past? Nearly all of us will readily acknowledge this year passed by quite quickly. As it draws near to its conclusion, we are faced with the busiest time of the entire year. Each year, we find ourselves overcommitted, exhausted, and flustered. Many have made previous resolutions to never let it happen again; yet, many find themselves right back in the same rut. Many tragically approach this time of year with dread, when God would have us approach it with delight. Doing so necessitates that we gain a proper perspective and strive to maintain it. Adopt these five principles to ensure this time of year is delightful, not dreadful.
- Prioritize the important. If you do not consciously prioritize things, that which is most important will soon be crowded out, often unintentionally. The most important element of any person’s life is his relationship with the Lord. Daily cultivate that relationship through prayer and Bible study. Make sure that the family maintains the proper priority and they truly sense their importance. That may mean setting things down and just enjoying some time together.
- Realize perfection is not a requirement. For those who know me, you know I am a perfectionist and like everything to go smoothly – perfectly actually! However, the reality is often much different. Accept that everything may not be perfect, that somebody might be unhappy, or that you did not measure up to a certain standard (often your own). Determine to enjoy the time and not become flustered trying to make everything perfect. While attempting to serve Jesus, Martha grew very frustrated over her sister’s lack of involvement. Interestingly, it was Martha who was rebuked (Luke 10:38-42).
- Avoid overcommitment. Many of us struggle to say “No,” especially this time of year. It seems that everybody has a party or another event to attend. God knew what He was doing when He gave us twenty-four hours in a day and seven days a week. Recognize your own limitations and avoid being overcommitted. Overcommitment inevitably results in stress, frustration, and hurt feelings.
- Avoid last-minute preparation. If possible, strive to avoid the last-minute preparations, regardless of what they might be. Little enjoyment and satisfaction are derived from last-minute shopping, cooking, wrapping, etc. Manage your time wisely to avoid last-minute preparations.
- Find some quiet time. One of the most intriguing statements to me in the Word of God is found in Luke 2:19 where we read, “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Despite the unexpected location to give birth to the Messiah and the visit of the shepherds, Mary found time to ponder all that transpired. Jesus frequently took time away from everyone in order to find His needed quiet time (cf. Mark 1:35) and instructed His disciples to do the same (Mark 6:31). Find some quiet time and spend it with the Lord. You will be amazed at how this time will recharge you and enable you to maintain the right perspective