Merry Christmas everyone! Having a wonderful time. Hope you are too.
What? Not ready for Christmas yet? Wanting it to come. Waiting for its blessings. And oh so much to do before it does come. Yeh, I know. Me too.
Busy making ready. Bordering on panic. Doing again this year what I promised myself I would never do again. I’m forgetting the Christmas Spirit and getting caught up in Christmas preparations.
Doug Rumford, a pastor friend of mine, lays out a marvelous 4-step plan for renewing spiritual vitality. He introduces the topic of spiritual health with a discussion of the uncomfortable symptoms of soul neglect. Here are three symptoms I relate to.
low-grade or holiday depression
the resurgence of unhealthy habits
a diminished resistance to impulse and temptation
When I recognize these appearing in my life I know that it’s time to work on refreshing my soul.
Hmmm. Soul neglect! Running on spiritual fumes! Well, I’ll be. And here I thought that the cold weather and the fewer hours of daylight caused my pre-Christmas emptiness and irritability. Or is it the memories of Christmases past? Or the frustration of too little time, money and energy?
Reading my friend Doug’s spiritual vitality plan, I’m thinking I can have a better, happier, and more spiritual holiday season this year. Here’s my plan.
First, connect with God’s Presence. Read the Christmas story and focus on the birth of Jesus, God with us.
Second, connect to God’s Perspective. Read the Christmas story again and focus on the heavenly glory and eternal plan of God there revealed.
Third, connect with God’s Power. Read the Christmas story yet again and focus on the awesome power of God to overcome despair and doubt, and even Herod’s death squad.
Fourth, connect to God’s Purpose. Read the Christmas story one more time and focus on God’s saving love, on justice and mercy, peace on earth, and good will to all.
The Christmas story is excellent food for the soul. It brings spiritual vitality, and drives away the symptoms of soul neglect. Now, soul food is not fast food. For it to be truly nutritional, the Christmas story must enjoyed slowly and long savored.
May God fill your Christmas preparations with Christmas Spirit through your thoughtful reading of the Christmas story. The real Christmas story is told in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke in the Bible.