Post by Pastor Tim – This past week my family has hosted a Christmas party, planned for an upcoming Christmas cookie exchange (also at our house), put up Christmas lights, attended a middle school band concert, started a new job, went Christmas shopping, designed a 2014 family picture calendar . . . and the list goes on and on and on. Does it sound anything like your December schedule?
We barely had time to think about the present, let alone reflect on the past. And yet, I think one of the greatest blessings of the week was what my wife and I learned about how to reflect during even the busiest times of the year.
Reflect Before the Hosting – One of our goals in 2013, was to intentionally “Open our Home” at least once a month. This was meant not to limit the number of guests that would visit, but to ensure that we were making a consistent effort to share Christ in this manner. During our time of reflection, we found that we more than met our goal, but that prayerful pre-reflection and planning was often lacking when we hosted. In other words, we weren’t always seeking the Lord and asking him who we should host, how we should host and when we should host. We determined to make a new goal in relation to our 2014 hosting, and that new goal was to bathe all of our hosting in prayer, and seek the Lord more in our hosting opportunities than we had in 2013. We did this prayerful planning (just last night in fact) in regards to a “Christmas Cookie Exchange” that we are hosting at our house next week.
Reflect During the Hosting – When we help someone to pause . . . or think about the Lord, we consider that a moment of “reflection.” And our goal in hosting anyone is to allow the Lord to work in and through our lives as expressed in the Works of Mercy, thus helping people to reflect during the event itself. A great example of when this happened was surprisingly during our 9 year old daughter’s birthday party! We used this party as a way to introduce reconciliation to her friends that were experiencing relationship difficulties. Our birthday activities, even including the craft, was designed introduce forgiveness and reconciliation to these little girls.
Reflect After the Hosting – If my wife and I hadn’t taken a few minutes to reflect on all of our 2013 hosting, we would have missed out on remembering the great things that the Lord had done. We would have also missed out on understanding ways that we could grow in our hosting in 2014. Just a few simple questions go a long way in examining our hosting events.
- What was our plan?
- What happened?
- What did we learn?
- Now What? What should change or what should remain the same next time?
Perhaps Socrates most famous quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living” is true for the unexamined Christian life. My wife and I certainly learned that there is truly a blessing in regularly reflecting on our Christian walk, and perhaps that blessing is even more significant when the discipline of reflection is practiced during the busiest seasons of life.