The Christmas break is often a time for college students to crash. After a busy semester, it can be full of sleep, friends, family, Netflix, and home-cooked meals. True rest, reflection, and growth can also be a part of the break. We asked some faculty and staff to share ideas about how students could use their time over the break to grow. Over the next week, we will share some of their thoughts.
Many of us will spend time over the next few weeks preparing. We’ll prepare to leave campus by completing courses, packing needed items, and traveling to a different location to spend the holidays. We’ll also prepare for Christmas. We may purchase and wrap gifts for loved ones, bake holiday treats, put up decorations, or help our families host guests for gatherings. Later, we’ll enter a new year and will look ahead with wonder about what 2019 holds. Finally, we’ll prepare to return to campus to begin a new semester or new graduates may prepare to begin new chapters.
Some of these preparations can come to feel like burdens—as if there is too much to do and not enough time. Reflecting on ways these activities, responsibilities, and even chores reflect God’s provision can enable us to see His goodness and to offer gratitude and worship to the One who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. For example, helping to prepare a meal for family or friends reflects the blessing of having those relationships as well as the resources to share with loved ones.
As we experience the truth of God’s love and provision and His presence in our lives, we can offer our thanksgiving to Him and share our burdens with Him asking Him to turn those burdens toward trust in Him.
Additionally, as we prepare to encounter friends, loved ones, and even those people who know just what to say to irritate us—as we purchase and wrap gifts, bake holiday favorites, or pack up to return home for the holidays, we can use the time of preparation to offer prayers for those our efforts seek to serve. In making treats for a holiday gathering, we can pray for those who will receive the treats. In purchasing or wrapping gifts, we can intercede on behalf of the person the gift will bless. In readying ourselves to encounter those who we find it harder to love, we can pray for God to change our attitudes and help us to love or forgive.
Sometimes, it feels like prayer is the least we can do, but it’s really the best we can do.
I pray that God will use the coming season to prepare our hearts to love Him and others more.