Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fun during the holidays

What makes Christmas time fun?

Is it decorating the tree? Gatherings with family and friends? Singing Christmas carols? Dressing in the sweatshirts and sweaters with pictures of snow scenes that you only wear in December? Showing kindness toward others? Counting down the days before Santa arrives? Exchanging gifts?

All of these things can be fun. In fact, I have participated in all of the above at one time or another. The activities themselves are not necessarily what makes for a fun holiday. In fact, if you look at these things as mere “activities” they can become just another to-do for the already stretched to-do list.

If you look in the dictionary for what “fun” is, two words appear: enjoyment and playfulness. Fun combines the act of play and the feeling of joy. So what makes something “fun” is to approach it with a sense of play and a feeling of joy.

You know why kids look forward to the Christmas season so much? They know how to have fun. They have an inherent sense of joy, and play like nobody’s business! But who makes the rule that after a certain age boys and girls, who have grown to men and women, can no longer have fun? I don’t remember seeing that in the contract…..

So be a kid. Decorate the place. Make popcorn garland for the tree, and eat a few pieces from the string, even if someone is watching. Sing loud, and sing proud. Wear your Santa hat to the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to work, to Sunday school. Play till your heart’s content, and play some more.

Express your joy. Stop and pause at the manger scene. Kneel down and bow your head and honor the Savior. Yes, kneel, even if it’s in public. Don’t worry – God will send an angel to help you back to your feet. Share with someone how Jesus changed your life. And after you do, do it do it again and again.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


About six months ago I made a commitment to post something on my blog at least once a week. Well folks, judging from the date of my previous post it seems I haven't been that committed. Sure, not a day went by that I didn't think about what I should post. I'm even part of a group of bloggers that take turns choosing topics every week. Blogging is something I enjoy doing. So why the lapse?

Here's an answer: busyness.

Over the past couple of weeks I had some things come up that were out of the ordinary, requiring time to be devoted to making sure they got done.

Turns out that "busyness" is really a nice way of saying that I failed to be disciplined in my time. Don't get me wrong - the things that came up had to be taken care of and were more important than blogging. However, when it comes down to it, my schedule is really not so tight where I couldn't sit down and write something. Writing is something that I enjoy doing and I would like to devote more time to it than I have been.

In all of this, I was reminded of a valuable lesson: There is a difference between being busy and being productive. In a nutshell, "busy" is the getting ready to do something, and "productive" is getting the same something done. For example, when I sit down to write my blog, "busy" is often looking for a suitable picture; "productive" is putting words together to actually say something that is (hopefully) of value (or perhaps something of silliness - who knows?).

So what are some steps I can take to get over the "busyness" and become more productive with my time? Here are a few:

  • Pray. Seems to me that when I pray for focus on the task I want to complete, I have fewer distractions. God answers even these kinds of prayers.
  • Make a "to-do" list. Don't overload it with thirty hour-long projects - Just the major things. And prioritize the items. Do the most important things first.
  • Partner up with someone. Whether it's a study group, an exercise buddy, or (as in my case) a blogging group, having a partner keeps you accountable and strengthens your resolve to follow through to completion.
  • Don't fall into procrastination and excuses.

So don't just sit there - Stop being busy, and do something productive!