Bill Hybels: Take Sweet Revenge on December Pressure

I have a love/hate relationship with the month of December.

My birthday falls near the middle of the month and Christmas falls near the end so those occasions should make the month of December a banner month, right?

Senior Pastors know better.

December is easily the most pressure packed month of the year.

Teaching fresh material every December is a herculean challenge. Extra time is always needed for celebrating the staff, honoring the volunteers, raising year-end funds, and being even more available than usual for pastoring the church and community.

And then there is your family – your spouse and kids and grandkids and extended family. Neglect them and well, you know…

So, each year there are the 2 things that I make sure I do to recharge and stay grounded.

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The first is prayer.

Out of desperation I started a new practice decades ago.

On the first Monday in December I take my Bible and journal to a place that offers solitude. My prayer is the same each year: “God, please help me get this Christmas right…or at least a little better all around than I did last Christmas.”

Then I start journaling about whatever comes to mind.

Sometimes I start with making sure I’m learning from mistakes of previous holiday seasons. Other times I begin by reviewing what I got right the year before.

But regardless of where I start, God always speaks to me.

I specifically remember the year that God whispered to me to stop pretending to my wife and children about what my schedule was going to be in December. Ever the optimist, I would joyfully announce that I was going to be around more this December than last year.

Then reality would strike.

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Bill Hybels
Bill Hybels, founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek, is well-known for his relevant and insightful Bible-based teaching. He is the author of 17 books, including Rediscovering Church and Fit to Be Tied (both co-authored with his wife Lynne), Too Busy Not to Pray, Becoming a Contagious Christian (with Mark Mittelberg), and The God You're Looking For. He is chairman of the Willow Creek Association's board of directors. Bill received a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Trinity College. He and Lynne are the parents of two adult children & have one grandchild.

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