My wife Kristi and I were pulling down our Christmas decorations this past week, (yes, I know it’s a bit late, but our 6th grandchild was so excited to be born, she came 5 weeks early) and as we were stacking the boxes down in the garage, we noticed a number of items we have not used in years. Some are nostalgic, some were broken and in the rush of getting things out and then put away they have not been fixed are or thrown away, mostly because there is no time to sort or fix or even chuck. As different boxes were handled, we made comments, “We need some time to sort through these things…Oh I can fix this, but just can’t seem to find the opportunity…We really should see if the kids would like some of their special ornaments…OK, we have got to get rid of this, we have not used it years, maybe as we put them all away.” We seem to rarely have space to organizing the Christmas décor.
Not only is it difficult to find space for organizing the Christmas décor, it is equally challenging to find time to purchase gifts (what did we do before on-line shopping!!) or attending festive traditions and family gatherings or feeling fully present at church to truly soak in the deeper meanings of this season! It leads to the question, are there any space creating opportunities out there?
I do believe the Bible has a few space creating of opportunities we can apply this Christmas. Let’s talk about two. The first is to connect, to connect with God. Jesus was teaching some His followers who were a bit frustrated and worried with how they were going to organize life. Jesus encouraged them and us with this…
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
To seek the kingdom of God is to seek to know and follow Jesus. When we do, life aligns as we seek to live life under Jesus’ leadership and influence. Connecting with God therefore creates space to for peace, joy, fulfillment, and love. How could you connect with God this Christmas?
Connecting with others is another space creating opportunity.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
When we connect with others there is space for improved protection, greater encouragement, extending belonging, and exponential production. We are better together. Our connection with others creates space. The reality is, we were created as social beings. Yes some more social than others, but we are all meant to connect in some way to others. Sure, it is easy to feel invisible – lots of people do – but what could we each do reach out and connect with others?
The next space creating opportunity is to give. Yes the giving of gifts, time, money, attention, talents, and resources actually creates space. In an online article from the Chicago Tribune entitled, “Be generous: It’s a simple way to stay healthier” quotes Stephen G. Post, founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York to say, “Volunteering moves people into the present and distracts the mind from the stresses and problems of the self. ” As well Posts reports, “Many studies show that one of the best ways to deal with the hardships in life is not to just center on yourself but to take the opportunity to engage in simple acts of kindness.” Giving of our time creates space for well-being and coping with the stresses of life.
The article goes on to quote Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics and Psychology at Duke University who says, “If you are a recipient of a good deed, you may have momentary happiness, but your long-term happiness is higher if you are the giver.” It is better to give than receive. Jesus put it this way…
Luke 6:38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Now, there are all kinds of opportunities and ways to give during the holidays, why not try a few?
My Christmas decorations are going to continue to invade my attic space unless I do something about it. This year my plan is to take some space creating measures. I am also going to seek to make a greater connection with God and others and to find some more opportunity to give. What about you?
Church can also be a great space creating opportunity. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. It would be fun to connect with you.
Seeking to create those space-making opportunities along with you, Mike