DOWN TIME

None of us lives to himself [but to the Lord], and none of us dies to himself [but to the Lord]… Romans 14:7 (Amplified)

Christmas is over, and we’re between holidays. The New Year is coming up, but there’s already a sense of flatness. We’ve spent months preparing for Christmas – shopping, cooking, decorating, and planning surprises for our loved ones. And we’ve enjoyed the special Christmas concerts and services portraying Jesus’ birth as we’ve awaited the Advent of our Lord. Now it’s over, and there’s a letdown.

It’s at just such a time as this that we can sharpen our spiritual senses. Instead of indulging nostalgia (that can sometimes lead to depression), here are a few things that can make this “between time” a gift:

• As you write those thank you notes (You will do that, won’t you?), thank God for the giver and pray for him/her and their particular needs.
• List the blessings and lessons of the past year. (A journal is a good place to record God’s faithfulness.)
• Prayerfully consider those disciplines the Spirit has been nudging you to undertake (and that you’ve been avoiding) and commit to practicing them in the New Year.
• Make calls and write notes of reconciliation. (End the year with a clean slate.)
• Adopt a Bible study plan for the New Year and commit to implementing it.
• Determine to live joyfully.

This is already too much to do in such a short time, but here are a few ideas to take us out of ourselves and into God’s Kingdom of righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit. If the year was good, thank God for his blessings. If it was challenging, thank God for his grace and strength to walk through it.

Now, get busy on this list so that you can move into 2016 with anticipation for the good things God has ahead.

Loving Father, you’ve brought us to this time of contemplation and reflection. Open our minds and hearts to our deep need of your Spirit as we close out this year and move ahead into what you have planned for us. Give us strength to grow and obey as you reach out to us in your love. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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