If you’re anything like me, Christmas brings a little bit – or maybe a lot – of abnormalcy. Even though we may try our hardest to keep the total frenzy out of our Christmas season, certain things are just destined to keep us out of our ordinary routine. School is out for a couple of weeks, which means the schedule for the kids is anything but normal. Parties, family gatherings, special church services, and extra little tasks here and there knock life out of whack. It’s not inherently a good or bad thing. It’s just not life as usual.
Then it’s all over. The parties. The family gatherings. The celebrations. All done.
The decorations come down, the kids go back to school, and normal life returns.
That’s where I am today – returning to normal. Well, maybe not totally normal. Hibbard Elementary won’t start back until next week, and I have a pretty major project to do the rest of this week, as well as some smaller writing projects. But, we are home. The Christmas decorations will be coming down soon. The house will be restored to normal. All will be back to life as usual by the beginning of next week.
Or will it?
It’s easy during times like the Christmas season for more than the schedule to get a bit out of whack. It’s easy for the communion between ourselves and the Lord to get out of whack as well. The devotional reading and daily prayer may continue, but is the abiding and true communion as ready as it should be?
The problem is that sometimes when that communion gets out of whack, it’s not quite as easy to restore as a daily schedule. It doesn’t fall back into place as readily as the Christmas decorations sliding back into the attic or the kids returning to school. Instead, it requires a bit more intentional work and effort.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve still had my “quiet times.” I’ve still spent time in prayer and I’ve still read my Bible daily. But, I can tell my attention has been divided. My thoughts have struggled and wandered. And, naturally, the fruit of the Spirit has not shone as brightly in my life.
Today as I begin to restore my house to normal, I’m also putting extra effort into restoring my attention to its proper focus. I’m returning to the discipline necessary to grow regularly in my ability to abide in Christ. I think I can say that this year I did better than last year or the years before. And, in the course of 2012, I hope to mature such that I abide more steadily through the abnormalcy of next year’s Christmas season as well. But, having done better does not mean that I’ve truly done well.
As life returns to normal for you, I encourage you to evaluate your abiding status. What needs to be restored? What needs some extra attention? What needs to be improved this year so that next year will be better? Whatever it may be, I encourage you to dig in and do it. And may 2012 be a year of more precious and intimate abiding in Christ than you’ve ever known before.