At City Hope, we have a lot of college students. And we will miss them greatly over the next few weeks as they are on Christmas break. So I wanted to take a moment to address our students and any college, high school, middle school, or elementary school students about how to walk with Jesus over Christmas break. (Also, this applies to non-students who have some time off around the holidays).
1. Spend time with Jesus.
This may sound super obvious but the most important way to ensure that you walk with Jesus when you are on Christmas break is to spend time with him in his word and in prayer. Its important to state the obvious because one temptation over Christmas break is to get out of your routine and just veg, not only taking a break from your school work, but also taking a break spiritually. The temptation to do this is even greater if you have a couple of weeks off because it seems like there is always time tomorrow to be with Jesus. But the break gives you a chance to spend extended time reading your Bible and praying. Time sitting in his presence and enjoying him. Time that you wouldn't normally have can be spent enjoying Jesus and being transformed by his word.
2. Serve your family.
Some of you go home to difficult family situations. Some of you feel more at home when you are at school around your community that helps you follow Jesus. So going home is full of painful memories and experiences. You can be tempted to retreat, not engage with your family, and count the moments till you go back. But I would challenge you to consider ways that you can take interest in your family and serve them. Even the smallest service to them can open conversations about Jesus and opportunities for you to experience Christ in new ways.
For others, home is really fun. It is an enjoyable experience and a super relaxing environment. The temptation for you may be to kick back and be served only. This is certainly my temptation when I go home for the holidays (and when I did in college). Just to think, "I work really hard and have earned a good break," and just be served. While it may be true that you have worked really hard and you do deserve a break, the reality is that Jesus always calls us to serve others. And you will experience more of Jesus and grow in your relationship with him by serving rather than being served. Why? Because that is what Jesus did with us, he served and when we follow him on the way of service we experience more of the grace that he gives to us in the gospel.
3. Rest well.
The final piece of advice is to rest well. The Bible speaks often of seasons and I think it is a helpful way to view our lives. Its ok to rest. Seasons of rest are good to recharge physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That means you should feast. You should sleep. You should play games. You should watch movies. You should rest. But you should be on guard so that your rest does not turn into slothful vegging (my default when I stop working like crazy). How? By understanding that rest does not mean neglecting #1 and #2 on this post. By balancing your feasting with some exercise and healthy food. By balancing your sleep with engaging conversation, work and service. By balancing your games with time alone with Jesus. By balancing your movie watching with reading good books. In short it comes by not over-indulging on rest.
No matter how well or poorly you rest during Christmas break, the most important thing to remember is that because of Jesus, you can rest from trying to earn God's love. Jesus has accomplished everything necessary for salvation and if you are trusting in him, you can be assured that God loves you. That there is no condemnation for you. You can rest in his grace. If you remember that, you can walk well with Jesus over Christmas break.