AS I listen to the tunes of Mercy Me’s I Can Only Imagine (the song Sarah walked down the aisle to at our Wedding) and also contemplate prayerfully last night’s story time with Ethan (Sarah and I taking him through the Christmas story with our little nativity set), I’m moved to want to be a child again. Staring up at a Christmas tree, and ultimately staring up in awe of a Saviour who came from eternity afar to seek me and save me!
Jesus is the reason for the season. We’ve heard it said so much it’s a cliché now.
But it’s true. What is also true is that it’s God’s will that we use this time of the year to ponder life and God, our hopes and faith.
Here are a quick five opportunities to be blessed spiritually this Christmas (and in the lead up):
1. REFLECT: It’s not until we make time to go to the beach or for a walk in the bush (or wood) that we recognise how far from God we’ve been drawn in our trying to keep up with the demands of daily life in this world. Find somewhere for repose. The child in me wants to find space for thinking and feeling and being. The child in me wants to dream, to imagine heaven, and to ponder that day.
2. REVISE: your year. Christmas comes at the end of it; exactly one week before New Year. Isn’t it a great opportunity to take stock over the year, and, without lamenting the laments all over again, or getting lost in the triumphs, try and fit this year’s history into your overall history. What could God be saying? In revising we’re re-visioning. It’s not just about ‘revision’ (a ghastly though truly necessary activity); it’s about re-casting the vision of our lives. We live in ‘live’ time. Each moment spent is one more moment gone — written forever into our history book. The child in me wants to find my own place back in my own life. The child in me is impatient with being estranged in this adult body; give me back my kid — my ability to optimise my imagination — so I can live a worthy adult life.
3. RECREATE: what history are we going to write… from now on — for our present and future. There are a trillion ways we can live life, thousands of which could be God’s will. A commitment to recreate is not a commitment to becoming lazy; it’s an opportunity to create and create and to create some more. The child in me wants to find space in my own heart, to play, to enjoy, to find peace. The peace there is in rest!
4. RESUME: the spiritual life is about coming back onto that blessed straight path having inevitably wandered yet again from God’s purposes and plans for our lives. Resuming is about remembering the good practices we once did and reinstituting them. What is it about our spirituality or time with family that we miss? Time to realign goals. The child in me wants to find my way back to what’s good and safe. The child in me so values safety; blessed assurance of God.
5. REVITALISE: the purpose of spiritual retreat is ultimately to revitalise. That’s dealing with the sapping demands of life, retreating, reflecting, revising, recreating, and resuming. The child in me wants to find my energy and bring it back again. The child in me wants to, again, be on fire for life and God.
Christmas is a great time of year to sacrifice some time for the precious activity of retreat to reflect, revise, and recreate, so as to resume revitalised.
Time to ponder family and friendship, the meaning of life, God in the midst of it all.
Find some time for retreat to reflect, revise, and recreate, so as to resume revitalised. To recall the good in life.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.