Christmas is a busy time of the year for the church. The season is full of programs, events, and service projects. Even in a year like 2020, when many church doors are closed, ministers work behind the scenes caring for their church members and spreading the message of the hope of Christ during the holiday.
Like anything in ministry, it is easy to get caught up in doing the work of Christ without taking time to observe the significance of it for yourself. But as ministers, it is imperative that we take time to remember the joy of the season in our hearts and slow down enough to remember the reasons for those programs, events, and service projects in the first place. Perhaps the uniqueness of the 2020 Christmas season allows us to do this in a way that we never have been able to before. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of Christmas to-do lists and Christmas carols in shops playing over loudspeakers, let us listen for the quiet cry of a newborn King, born 2,000 years ago.
But how? With so much to be done, and deadlines looming, how can we be sure that we “honor Christmas in our hearts” as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol reminds us?
Here are my suggestions:
Read Through the Gospel of Luke
Ministers, in their preparation for sermons and lessons, should not forsake the reading of Scripture for their own devotional purposes. During the Christmas season, it can be helpful to remind ourselves of the life of Christ and to listen for where He speaks to us anew. I have many friends who take it upon themselves in the month of December to re-read the Gospel of Luke, just a chapter a day. There are 24 chapters in Luke, so if you begin on December 1st, you should have read through the entire Gospel by Christmas Day!
Spend Time with Family and Friends
Church commitments can easily crowd out time spent with loved ones during the holiday season. However, it is crucial that ministers set aside time to spend with their family and friends. Ministers need to experience love just as much as they seek to offer it to others. Allow yourself to be ministered to through the holidays. Don’t try to out give God by forgetting to take time to receive the blessings He wants to bestow on you through the love of those who care for you the most.
Ask For Help
Sometimes, ministers can try to play the part of a superhero, whether because of the expectations laid upon them by church members, or because of a desire to serve without burdening anyone else. However, because of the extra demands Christmas can bring, ministers must learn to ask for help when it is needed. Christmas is not meant to be a time for burn out, but for rest and restoration. Do not try to do everything alone. Form a trusted team of church members to help you through the Christmas season. Many times, you will find that church members are especially anxious to give and serve this time of year. The greatest gift you can give someone is the opportunity to be the disciple Christ calls them to be!
I pray that God will bless your Christmas season, whatever it looks like this year. May we never forget the true meaning of Christmas, even as we become overwhelmed with the demands of the season.