Dear Friends,

It’s the first day of December!  This was the slowest month of the year when I was a child but it’s now the fastest month of the year.  New Year’s Eve and 2015 are just around the corner.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  First comes Christmas.

What are you not doing for Christmas this year?  I posed that question yesterday in worship.  I suggested a good place to start might be to let God carry those heavy burdens that you’ve been packing around.

This morning as I was praying it became apparent to me that I hadn’t yet done that.  Does it surprise you that sometimes pastors don’t practice what they preach?  My very posture as I prayed was hunched over, as if I were still carrying that backpack full of rocks.  I found myself fretting about one thing after another. I wasn’t feeling very peaceful.  I realized my praying hands were clenched, not relaxed.  I thought of Dallas Willard’s one word description of Jesus:  “Relaxed”.

So I tried something.  I held out my open palms to God as we did yesterday in worship.  I sat up straight and breathed in deeply.  It made a difference.  I don’t want to exaggerate.  I’m still working on handing all my burdens over to God.  But that prayer definitely did end better than it began.

Christmas will soon be past.  2014 will soon be a memory.  We will soon be back in our usual routines, our “default settings” for how we are accustomed to living our lives.  Don’t let this Advent season pass without letting God do something new in you.

In Christ,