THIS SERIES:DREAMING OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS?
The place to start is in the Lord’s presence:
you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
‘Wisdom is the art of being successful, of forming the correct plan to gain the desired results.’ [TNBD p1333]
Biblical wisdom then, is a plan that works – just what we need at this time of the year - and the source of that wisdom, of course, is the Lord. One of Jesus’ titles is Wonderful Counsellor [Isaiah 9:6,7], and although we know He is working out His plans and purposes in the affairs of the nations, we also have the privilege of being able to go to Him as individuals with our small stuff, knowing He has all the answers.
the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
A STARTING PLACE
As previously mentioned, the place to start is by deciding with the Lord on one or two core aims for the season* . These objectives will inform the rest of your planning. And the second thing to do is to diary in some Sabbath-breaks** – time when you can recalibrate, and refocus.
Christmas is a feast for the soul. This festival can delight in so many ways; the pleasures of the ‘feast’ being different for each of us – but we can go mad……! For me (among other things) it’s the joy of new things to make or cook; for another it might be the opportunities to socialise, for some it’s all about signing up to help at worthy causes, for others it’s about spoiling the grandchildren, watching seasonal films or attending every possible community event; and the list goes on……. There’s nothing wrong with feasting, except if it carries on without pause, or consideration, it changes and enlarges the appetite, and redirects the attention. At this time of the year, one good thing can lead to another until we wake up in January overfed, exhausted, out of pocket and realise we ‘lost’ the Lord somewhere on the way! Sabbath recalibration at intervals is vital.
Having decided our goals and planned in our Sabbath-time, we need to then simplify our expectations. The truth is we can’t do it all; most of us already have busy lives: full time jobs, parenting or elderly care responsibilities, church commitments, and numerous other obligations. Facing up to this fact is the first step into freedom. If we pin down our core objectives, and recognise we can’t do everything, then we can start to prune our want-to-do-list.
This will involve conversations with families, friends and colleagues; firm explanations, possibly post-season alternatives; and most importantly, the refusal to be coerced by others’ expectations. If these changes are made early, it gives people time to adapt, and even the opportunity to follow suit.
Christmas tends to bring out the 'Martha' in us, and Jesus’ response is still the same:
but few things are needed – or indeed only one.
Mary has chosen what is better……
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