How Church Leaders Can Celebrate Christmas Too

If you’re the pastor, on the church staff, or a volunteer leader, you carry the role of host at Christmas.

Planning for weeks to share the good news of Jesus’ birth, you can’t wait for the guests to arrive. It’s going to be wonderful. You can hardly wait.

You’ve invested time and energy communicating the invitation to come to church and bring a friend. The worship teams are rehearsing and your faithful volunteers are giving their time to get ready.

Then, of course, there is the great responsibility of writing the sermon, God’s Word carrying the good news. From the parking lot to the hospitality teams to the children’s ministry and, of course, that special Christmas coffee – there is so much involved.

You are praying and praying for people to respond to the invitation at the end of the service…

The big question in this grand celebration of the birth of the Savior is:
When will you have an opportunity to savor the Savior?

And, of course, don’t forget the preparation for Christmas fun with your family.

Back to the question.

How do you connect with the Savior in the crazy of Christmas?

I love the Christmas season, so for me, it’s a good kind of crazy, but let me share three cautions during Christmas to watch for:

  1. Carrying so much that the Gospel becomes a grind.
  2. Missing the holy in all the hustle.
  3. You are so invested in the church family that you overlook your own family.

There is good news for you too – how to handle these three cautions:

1) Let God carry what you can’t carry.

My hunch is that you are gifted, have great experience, and you are passionate about the vision. You can carry a heavy leadership load.

However, you can’t carry it all.

You can carry only a finite and specific load of leadership responsibility. That responsibility isn’t random; it is strategic and holy.

When you try to carry too much, the glory of the Gospel can become a grind.

Be careful that Christmas doesn’t become something mechanical that you need to get through rather than a joyous experience you get to lead.

What are you carrying that you can temporarily set aside? Or hand off to someone else who would love to handle it for a couple weeks or so. Or maybe empower someone to do it permanently!  

It might not be a leadership responsibility.

Perhaps you are carrying some hurt, anger, or discouragement. And piled on top of all your work and family responsibilities, it’s just too much.

Allow yourself to catch your breath or begin to heal if needed.

Talk it through with a close friend you trust and respect and lean into God’s grace.

God truly can carry what you can’t carry.

2) Take time this week to trade the holiday hustle for the unrushed holy.

You really do have the freedom to slow down for a few minutes.

I can’t count how many times I’ve told myself that “I have to work; there is just no time to stop because there is too much to do.” The problem is, that’s not true.

Yes, there is an unending amount of work to be done, but it’s not true that I can’t stop. It’s up to me to stop working. It’s up to you too.

Take some time this week to slow down and quietly soak in the mystery and majesty of the Gospel.

Because we live in the natural realm as human beings, there are things about God that are beyond our ability to fully grasp. For example, attributes such as eternal, infinite, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Or the Trinity, etc.

Yet, you can quietly meditate on these things and the Holy Spirit reveals truth. You can soak in humbling truth of your relationship with Jesus, and be filled with joy and peace. Fully engage the extravagant love of Christ!

Find some time to set aside your professional leadership responsibilities with the church for some personal time with Jesus.

The freedom is yours for the taking.

When can you get some quiet time just for you to reflect on the majesty of what Christmas represents?

Trade the hustle for the holy.

3) Promise yourself that you will shut work down and enjoy your family.

Some time ago a friend told me he gets one day off next week. Monday Christmas day, is the only day he gets off from work. But he assured me that entire day would be spent entirely with his family.

My guess is that you can get a few more days off sometime this month than my friend.

Have you set aside some family time? Have you made specific plans?

It’s not always a leadership responsibility that prevents family time over the holidays. Sometimes it’s due to being emotionally distant, distracted, or anxious about things you can’t change.

This is a great opportunity to embrace the truth that you share with so many others.

Jesus brings the peace that you need and desire.

The better we learn how to engage a healthy rhythm of time off, the greater the likelihood we can enjoy the time off rather than “crash” and attempt to recover.

I recommend four things that you can do over this week and next.

  • Find the lighter-side; laughter is medicine for your soul.
  • Take a few moments for heart-felt conversations with those you love. They don’t have to be long, but they need to be sincere.
  • Plan one fun thing that has nothing to do with work with at least a few family members.
  • Set aside quiet time to think and pray.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11

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