By Craig Thompson
Are you tired yet? You will be. This two-month stretch from November 1 until December 31 is one of the busiest times of the year for pastors and churches.
There are parties and fellowships, special services, Advent planning, missions emphases, budget meetings, church conferences, children’s programs, and Christmas cantatas. And of course, this doesn’t include the travel many of us will put in over the holidays or the occasional funeral we’ll need to officiate.
Thanksgiving and Christmas make up a wonderful time of the year—one that’s especially meaningful for the church. However, these holidays can also leave a pastor completely exhausted.
How can you enjoy the holidays and avoid exhaustion? Here are a few tips:
1. Remember the reason we celebrate.
Pastors will stand up over the next six weeks and regularly encourage their people to remember Jesus during Christmas.
Still, in all of the reminders to remember, pastors can fall prey to the temptation to neglect Jesus in their personal lives.
You may speak of Jesus and point others to Him, but don’t neglect to spend time with Christ just because life is busy. Your time in prayer and in God’s Word will help sustain you on the busy days.
2. Spend time with your family.
If you have a family at home, remember to keep them with you as often as you can this season. Watch some Christmas movies together. Go to the local tree lighting.
You can spend time with your family, even when you’re with your church family. Make the most of the season and enjoy your family.
3. Take time off.
You’re probably going to work Christmas Eve, and you’ll prepare devotionals and services. You’re going to spend more time in the office than you do in other months.
You probably don’t have time to take a bunch of days off, but at least take a morning off. Have a long coffee break or take an extended lunch. Steal a couple of hours when you can.
4. Reserve time for recreation.
What do you do to recharge? Make sure to incorporate that into your life this season in order to be fresh to deliver God’s Word to your people. Go hunting, on a workout, or out for a walk.
I know there isn’t much free time available in your schedule right now, but make time for these recreational activities in order to be a better preacher and pastor.
Not everyone will understand your need to get away, but they’ll all appreciate well-delivered sermons and uplifting services.
5. Keep it simple.
Don’t be the Clark Griswold of your church. Be OK delivering a simple sermon this Christmas.
You may not have first-rate graphics or the most creative sermon series, but know you’re not in sin if you didn’t build a new backdrop out of pallets and fake snow.
Preach God’s Word, sing about His glory, and reflect on the Savior’s blessings.
6. Buy your wife a nice gift.
While everyone else is icing Christmas cookies, you’re in your office preparing for the Christmas Eve service. If you’re married, remember the woman who has to do without you so others can have you.
In the midst of thinking about everyone else this Christmas season, don’t forget to think about her. Listen to her words, listen to her heart, and treat her with a gift that speaks of your love and appreciation for her.
7. Be still and know…
You’ve read the Psalms. You’ve been reminded of this truth, but I’m going to remind you once more:
In the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and Christmas, stop your striving. Be still and know that He is God.
We’re in the middle of my favorite time of the year—one that’s busy, but also wonderful. Don’t lose the wonder, awe, and joy.
Take care of you so that you can help take care of everyone else.
CRAIG THOMPSON (@craig_thompson) is the husband of Angela, father of four, and senior pastor of Malvern Hill Baptist Church in Camden, South Carolina.