putting God at the centre of your celebrations

In the abstract, holidays feel like a time when there should be more space to connect with God and the things on his heart. But in reality, many of us find that when we’re away from our normal routines, it can be harder – rather than easier – to spend time in worship, prayer or even reflection… especially if we are away with other people…

Busy festival times of celebration – especially Christmas – can be even more like this…

Even when the reason for all the activity is Jesus, it can end up negatively impacting on our time with him, or lead us to feel like we have two modes of operation – one clearly connected to our devotion, and one that just feels separate, even if its really good. In the morning we might read our Bible or an Advent reflection, but later when we’re laughing with friends over good food, it can feel like that’s unrelated to him.

So we wanted to share this incredibly simple and obvious idea that some of us used on an extended holiday recently, that we found to be so wonderful we’re planning to use it every time we enter a period like this, as a way of:

  • consciously doing holidays and celebrations with God
  • connecting with him together really naturally
  • giving him all the thanks and praise for all the good gifts we’re enjoying, so that they (and we) are always connected to the one who gave them all.

As well as the joy we experienced from doing this with God, we also ended up making a note of some wonderful moments we might otherwise have forgotten, and getting the chance to savour everything more richly together before moving on to the next thing.

It’s basically a way of capturing and thanking God for every good gift you experience, by adding a little more each day to what gradually becomes a giant thanksgiving chart…

…as we said, it’s a super simple idea, but this resource explains clearly everything you need and notes some additional pointers that might be helpful.

We know that holiday and celebration times – especially with family – can throw up negative experiences and emotions as well, and this exercise we’re sharing is absolutely not about denying those.

It’s really important and healthy to pour out our pain over this to God and the following two resources (the first generally and the second specifically in relation to Christmas) might help a bit with this:

We also have a blog from a few years back that a number of us have come back to repeatedly with some more simple ideas about increasing connection to God during vacation times: https://journey.thesanctuarycentre.org/2011/08/01/rest-in-his-presence/

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