Somehow, the time around Christmas is very special although sometimes fraught. I think that being out of routine and seeing so many of friends and family over such a short period can have a good effect although it can be an exhausting experience especially for all us introverts!

The time between Christmas and New Year that we are now experiencing seems to be an elongated time, when  there is time to reflect and slow down – but what do most of do? We rush around frantically to see what bargains are in the shops or/and we eat masses of left-overs from the Christmas meal,  We try to pack in such a lot in a short time that again we are left drained. So how best can we use this time? I’m the first to admit that I easily fritter the time away rather than actively listening to the God who is with me who has so much to say to each of us.

“We can make our plans but God has the final word.” (Proverbs 16:1) So says the writer of the book of Proverbs. We can get our new or adapted diaries out and put in the various appointments already listed in our old diaries (for transfer) and plan ahead, but what does God want each of us to be doing? I am near a wonderful retreat house, The Sisters of Jesus Way in West Kirby on the Wirral that I visit from time to time.  Here, I can slow down, listen more and let God infiltrate my thoughts.

This Christmas time could be spent being more actively listening than doing or planning.  I sense that God wants us all to learn to slow down and abide ( I love this word!) in Him so that what comes out of our lives is His initiation. What He does through our lives is the only thing that counts in the end. Our human efforts are not what is required.

With the sunshine out today (where I live anyway) one can appreciate the amazing wonders of His creation. Time ambling in this can be most useful and beneficial to one’s mood and emotions let alone one’s physical frame. Children so love to be outdoors.  There, they can appreciate God’s unhurried world, where order and stress are at a minimum. As they enjoy ‘The ‘Creation Series’ of Diamond Books time can almost stand still as they see what God did in those early days of creation.

Even when creation does get out of order with, for example, sudden lengthy outpourings of rain, man like His Maker can put things back into order as we are called upon to help our neighbour very literally.  Then, time spent helping is most worthwhile and beneficial.

May this Christmas time prove an investment for the future as we learn to stop awhile and encourage our children to do likewise – if only for a very little time – it’s a start!