The tree is decorated, and you’re finally home for your long holiday break after a harrowing week of finals. Not only are you excited to see your friends from high school, but you more than likely have a variety of parties to attend, shopping to finish up, presents to wrap, services to attend, and family members to reconnect with.
While your holiday break is exactly that—a break—it can often feel like a mad race to see everyone, do everything, and attend every event that’s put in your path. Spending time with the Lord is hard enough at school with classes and homework and extracurriculars to attend to, but why does it sometimes seem even more challenging when you have no specific schedule to keep?
It’s easy to lump in the discipline of spending time with God into the category in your brain reserved for ‘work.’ However, hopefully, you’ve experienced how life-affecting spending time in the Word can be for your life. Instead of it being something that causes you weariness, it’s meant to be something that fills your cup so that you can pour out to others.
So what are some ways you can stay connected to the Lord over Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
1. Start with Scripture
Even if it’s just one verse—one, little verse—that you select to meditate on each day, that can truly change the course of action you take and the way you interact with the rest of the world as you move through your day. Write it on a post-it note or on your mirror, so that you see it more than once as the hours go by.
If you do have more time, however, the world’s your oyster. There’s something rather idyllic about taking time in the morning to make yourself a nice cup of coffee, curl up under a blanket by the fire, and connect with God before the rest of your family rises to start the day. Other options include listening to an audio version in your car, or camping out with a themed devotional book—maybe something that relates to the Advent season? Just be sure that whatever devotional you’re reading, it’s pointing you straight to Scripture first and not trying to replace the actual reading of the Bible.
2. Don’t pack your schedule so full
It’s tough to spend time with someone if you’re running to and fro all day long. Saying yes to every single party and outing with friends will not only exhaust you, but it won’t leave much margin for you to get the rest and you’ll end up feeling depleted by the end of your holiday vacation instead of replenished.
Instead of attending everything, be intentional about what you plan into your weeks off, and leave a little space to connect for quietness and reflection as you approach Christmas and the New Year. Busyness is quite possibly our greatest enemy because it leaves little room to stop and listen, to process and readjust, to connect with God and be reminded of His love and wisdom.
3. Make some time to volunteer or serve
It’s really easy to make the holidays a time that’s all about us. Between presents and parties, our culture is easily swayed into focusing on the stuff we give and get, the people we want to hobnob with, and how much we have to do. Instead of merely focusing on yourself for the entirety of your winter break, take some time to think about who else you could bless—by doing this you fulfill one of the central calls to the Gospel (1 Peter 4:10, Galatians 5:13).
There are many spots you can volunteer, of course, but don’t forget to take some time and think about who in your church or community might need some extra love and attention during this time of year. There are friends, family members, and acquaintances right in front of us whom we could love extra well, simply because we know them. Whether it’s baking a batch of cookies to bring to a friend who is grieving or helping your neighbor shovel her driveway, there are countless ways you can serve others. Pray and ask God to bring someone to mind!