By Ryan Weber
Christmas Break is almost here! And back when I used to get one (can we start a petition to institute Christmas Breaks for us, please?), I remember that marvelous feeling of pure and unadulterated joy. Like your face is about to explode type of joy.
I didn’t have to do homework for two weeks, I didn’t have to listen to that boring teacher for two weeks, I don’t have to deal with that annoying kid for two weeks, I don’t have to wake up early for two weeks, I don’t have to do ANYTHING for two weeks.
Simply put: Christmas break rules.
The question for us as parents is to figure out a way to engage and involve our kids in something through that break that will fulfill, nourish and charge them up for the new year. Because this is what their ideal Christmas vacation will look like:
They will reside permanently in their bedroom with five devices surrounding them, without showering or getting out of their pajamas, they will have forgotten what forming a full and cohesive sentence sounds like and they will subsist on any food item in which the first ingredient is either “High Fructose Corn Syrup” or “Sugar.”
Christmas Break highlights a trait that most people will fall into during these “down times” in our lives: if we don’t have a positive vision/direction, we tend towards apathy and regression.
We go from human beings to some sub-species when we lack vision and direction. So this is all the more important that we continue to offer vision and direction to our kids during this Christmas Break.
What I would encourage you to offer your kids is a lesson in what it means to take a Sabbath.
This is a nearly extinct phrase in our cultural ideology as we think that down time or any form of rest will only serve to waste time, money and productivity. We are on the go, 24/7, and we rarely have an off switch.
When I was growing up, I did three things: go to school, eat and play soccer. That was it. There was nothing else I did. There was nothing else I wanted to do.
But now, our kids are maxed out. They go from one extracurricular to another, to this sport, to this church activity, to this musical instrument, to this job, to this club and then they have to catch up on the three hours of homework they have to complete every day. In all this busyness, we teach our kids one thing: you are only productive when you are busy.
I want to dispel that myth. Because busyness without God is a vain pursuit, you cannot be fully productive without an adequate and refreshing “time-out” with Jesus Christ. I would even go so far as to guarantee you that the time that you waste with God will become the most productive part of your day. Let me say that one more time to make sure you’re not too busy to read it:
The time you waste with God is the most productive part of your day.
We have completely forgotten what it looks like to have a Sabbath and reconnect and reestablish our passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ. Even though it is one of the Ten Commandments:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
I think it’s interesting that Moses decided to write the word “Remember” there. It’s as if God knew we would forget it so easily. Our kids don’t know what a Sabbath is because we never take them. We don’t shut everything down and just commit time to spend with God in Bible reading, prayer and worship.
We all go into a new year with our expectations on high, we set our goals and resolutions and we set out to make this upcoming year the best we’ve ever lived. Our students are no different. They want to become better versions of themselves, they want to succeed in school, they want to progress in their goals.
But don’t cripple your children into thinking that their busyness will bring them success. Their God brings success through their own passionate pursuit of Him.
Christmas is such an amazing time and our students look forward to having this time away from their obligations. I know we teach our kids to serve, we teach our kids to give, we teach our kids to think of others over the holidays. But I think to really make the MOST out of our Christmas Break this year, we NEED to REMIND our kids to “be still and know that He is God.”