Fishers UMC Blog

What did you takeaway from Christmas?

When I am at a conference or event many times I ask the question, “What are your takeaways?  Sometimes they say a free shirt, most often they stop and begin to talk about the people they have met, key points they learned from a speaker, thoughts and reflections about the places of ministry they are serving or in generally implications for life changes. It is inspiring as people reflect on their recent experience and the applications for life going forward.  I am going to ask  you;  the reader  “What are your takeaways from Christmas this year ?

I ask that question because it will shape “Christmas Future”. ”The Christmas Present’ or most recent was shaped by “Christmas Past.” Traditions, schedules, gifts, songs, people, money decisions, faith, memory and desires are all shaped by our past experiences.  I have always heard hindsight is 20/20, yet as you reflect on your takeaways from this past Christmas, you can increase your vison for the next season. What are your takeaways from this most recent Christmas?

Consider writing your reflections and thoughts, down in a calendar, a computer file, email them to yourself or write them on paper then include them in the Christmas boxes as you pack them away. Perhaps with the words “Read First”. and the  words ‘Takeaways from Christmas Past”.

Here are some questions to consider

 What was the highest stress this Christmas?

                What Ways I can relieve that stress next year ?

What was the best thing about Christmas?

                How can I be more intentional about creating more moments like these?

What transitions do I anticipate for next year?

                (Not asking for crystal ball clarity here just be ready for some differences)

                Kids getting older. Health issues, additional family members, moving

I wish I would have

Next year I would like to

Who or what inspired you most this season?

What did you realize did not work this Christmas?

It is my prayer that your takeaways from this year will be one of the things you unpack first next year. That your apply many of the positive takeaways, everyday in your life this year.

Larry Crane
Director Of Children's Ministries
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Waiting is hard...

Confession time—I don’t like to wait. I watch the other lines at the grocery to see if I chose wisely or not. Choosing a lane at an upcoming red light involves assessing the cars already stopped and how quickly I think they’ll move when the light turns green. Amazon Prime is awesome—almost anything you could want at your porch in 2 days!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been observing people waiting. The catalyst was a family waiting for a table at Red Robin. My family had yet to arrive, so I was alone also seeking to occupy my time. The little people in the family were playing on iPads quietly while the parents looked at their phones. I began to think about the times we waited places when my own kids were small. We likely played a million games of I Spy as we waited for tables or in lines. Later, we’d switch to Would You Rather which was usually hilarious. We were not so great at waiting, but we found fun ways to use the time together. I found myself missing those days. My own little people aren’t so little anymore and would usually prefer to look at their devices while we wait than chat with their father and me. On this day, however, our table was ready when they arrived so I could not watch how they chose to wait.

Over the next few days, I found myself drawn to how people spent time waiting. I observed a young woman sitting looking out a window seeming to enjoy a few minutes alone in the quiet. And an older man chatting with anyone who passed seeking contact with another person. I listened to a mama with toddlers chatting about what they were purchasing at Target and why it was important to buy a few toys and warm coats for a family that would not have those otherwise. A senior citizen couple sipping coffee at the same table and not talking at all. I watched people of all ages playing on devices. In all of my observations, I realized there are a lot of ways to wait.

Sometimes the quiet, still, alone time is good for my soul. Other times, I’m seeking a connection to those around me through idle conversation (I’ve realized this is an inherited trait as my mother will talk to anyone anywhere).  Reading helps me pass the time quite often—and abandoning the book I brought for the doctor’s office magazines is a guilty pleasure for sure. Realizing that much of our time can be spent waiting helped me see that there can be purpose in it as well.

Maybe a game or two of Candy Crush helps wash away a difficult day at work. Perhaps sitting and looking out the window or walking outside helps to connect with the creator of all things. Chatting with a stranger may offer surprising insight. Reading opens doors to many things—a great story, more depth on a topic, or what celebrities are wearing this season. Waiting is part of life.

Advent beginning may have been the catalyst for my tuned in observations of waiting. Advent is a time of waiting for Christ. We often focus solely on the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas, yet Advent should remind us that we are always waiting for the second coming of Christ. Our waiting and anticipation of that day should motivate us always. Waiting has purpose. Perhaps waiting until the doctor calls us back or for it to be our turn to check out or for the little person’s practice to finally be over so we can go home after a long day. I find myself seeking to occupy my time in line at the grocery with great intensity—comparing which line is moving faster, wondering why people still write checks, why would someone buy 13 packages of spam, and more. Am I occupying my time waiting for Jesus with intensity? How am I preparing myself for His coming like I’m preparing what I’m going to tell my doctor? When Christmas is over will I pack away the hope and expectation of Christ’s birth and forget that I’m also waiting for His return? I hope not. I’ve been working to be intentional about waiting for Jesus this season and am convinced that I need to be more intentional about preparing for his return than I have been. I want to be proactive and use my time wisely.

How do you spend your time waiting for Jesus during Christmastime? And throughout the year as we wait his return?

Blessings to you whilst we wait together…
Liz Simmonds
Director Of Jr. High Ministries
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