Pastor, Is Your Holiday Plan well?
The holiday season can be most exhausting for the Pastor. In addition to regular responsibilities, there are the added expectations of holiday party attendances and special church events.1 Even preaching can be laborious...have you ever wondered how many ways you can approach the same Scripture texts when this time of the year rolls around? Or, have you tended to adopt a "survive, not thrive" mentality and plow through the holidays? A rekindling of the Christian mindset can reestablish healthy thinking.2
The thrust of the Christian's Thanksgiving is not a holiday; it is an attitude for every day. Salvation is the continual propellant of a grateful heart. A perpetual and intentional pondering of this unmerited, undeserved gift of eternal and abundant life is the Christian's identify and thus, the disciple's ministry. A prayer-fueled push against settling into mediocrity must prevail.3 True thanksgiving is expressed through joyous service towards others for the glory of God. Herein, innumerable opportunities for sharing the Gospel will be provided through authentic relationships.
Christmastime provides a wonderful opportunity for reflection, introspection, and meditation. Seasons past can be kindled. Situations present can be enjoyed for awhile. Christmas trumpets forth the Gospel. The unredeemed preach the Word through traditional carols and songs without knowing they are praising their
Creator. The name of "Christ" is written everywhere and the atmosphere of giving abounds. Such occasions serve as incredible evangelistic prospects. Sharing the revelation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and descension (future!) with the lost can bring them eternal meaning of Bethlehem's Babe Who stepped out of eternity and into history. Bankrupt theology must be countered through biblical Christology in the commercial-driven temptations of the season.4
Time. Do not forget your family. The holidays may be pastorally demanding, but remember the precious gift of your wife and children. Perhaps you must decline
gatherings that do not include your family's attendance.
Transcendence. What a time to remember the surpassing nature of the holidays. Such pre-determined calendar days are but shadows of the glorious eternity that awaits.
Turn. Are there transformational thoughts bouncing around in your heart? The holidays provide a wonderful time to turn from unhealthy habits and embrace the New Year with attainable goals.
© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC.
Fit for the Fight , November 2010
1 Much of the information is taken from the author's dissertation: The Relationship between Selected Disciplines of Physical Wellness and Spiritual Wellness among Southern Baptist Pastors, 2006.
2 Pat Williams, How to Be like Jesus (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 2003), 140.
3 D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1992), 121.
4 Emery Bancroft, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), 96-98.