Christmas Leadings

Gifts, Holidays and Decorations

by Liam Glover

[4 minute read]

 

For many leaders, the number 25 in the last month of the year brings a sense of rest, respite and recovery. (Unless of course you’re a leader in the retail sector, which means crazy busy! And often, what follows 25 December, is 26 December, resulting in Boxing Day sale inspired frenzied shoppers and more refunds, exchanges and returns than anyone cares to mention.)

With Christmas usually comes less time with those with whom you work and more time with those you love. (Not that I’m suggesting you can’t love those with whom you work or even love your work. But that’s another blog.)

With Christmas there is more time to think and reflect, as you attend to those annual jobs that won’t get a look in during the year – cleaning the gutters, treating the deck, or me, venturing into the garden. Perhaps a recognition of God’s presence throughout the year and a hopeful prayer of his ongoing leadings in the coming year.

An online dictionary defines “leadings” to include, “guidance or leadership, especially in a spiritual context.” For a moment I’d like to think about Christmas leadings through a festive framework of Gifts, Holidays and Decorations.

Gifts

There are many recorded reasons why we choose to give gifts: emulating the Wise Men who brought gifts to the Christ child approximately 2,000 years ago; reflecting the gift of Christ to humanity; continuing pagan traditions that pre-dated the incarnated Christ; and possibly less articulated but still very real, knowing that someone may give us a gift and we don’t want to be embarrassed by not having an ability to reciprocate.

Physical gifts are usually fairly obvious, either sitting under the tree or in the stocking. And often they are gifts that will, over time, depreciate, break or require service. This Christmas the enduring gift you could share with those around you is the gift of encouragement. As Paul writes to the church at Corinth, the authority the Lord gave us is for building up not tearing down. To emphasise his point, he repeats himself similarly in chapter 13.

A gift that is life giving is one that speaks hope into the recipients, inspiring them to pass that gift on to others around them. And this sort of gift does not perish.

Holidays

Most people over Christmas enjoy some form of holidays, recreation leave or vacation. Whilst on first pass they may conjure up the same sort of feelings (relaxation, tan by the pool, dealing with fighting children who have spent too much time together), for a moment I’d like to draw a distinction between these three terms.

Holidays comes from Holy Days – days that are set apart, unique and exceptional from the usual. Recreation unsurprisingly comes from re-creation – to create again. To be renewed, inspired and created again. (Imagine for a moment the God initiated creative impulse flowing through your very being this Christmas season.) By way of contrast, Vacation means “to vacate or to be absent.”

Let’s this Christmas season choose not to see these days as vacation – where you might choose to be relationally absent from God and others, but as holy days or re-creation leave, where amazing, restoratively, God creates again, revealing a new picture of you in your role as leader and influencer at home, work and in your suburb.

Decorations

You may be the sort of person who “Griswalds” your house with decorations. (If you don’t understand this reference, please enjoy this holiday season watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.) We had a “Griswald” in our suburb, drawing so much electricity during Christmas, which required the network to upgrade the substation close to his home!

Often decorations can make a tree go from ordinary to extraordinary, a home from plain to stunning or even clothing from great to exceptional. Rather than only seeking to change the outside for a few weeks this Christmas season, as leaders let’s seek to decorate on the inside, allowing Christ’s light to emanate from us, so that we may shine like stars in the sky (Philippians 2:15).

The perfect light, Jesus, tells us in Matthew that we are the light of the world. And that we should let our light shine before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven. These are lasting decorations!

 

Entering the season of Christmas, as leaders, may we thank God for his work in our lives over the year, for the Godly influence we have had the privilege of imbuing and for the opportunity to partner with him in the Kingdom coming. And with internal and eternal illumination, may we look to give everlasting gifts of life over our holydays.