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Undistracted Holidays


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. If you are like me, you probably feel deep unrest with the world’s blatant devaluing of the day that has been set aside to reflect on the good gifts of our God and His abundant blessing on our lives. Instead, the world is consumed with secular parades, multiple NFL games and endless marketing to our consumer-driven culture about Black Friday specials. Even for the devout, distractions abound during this season of celebration. Preparations for an unprecedented day of feasting, complications of travel and even engagement in the complexities of family relationships can draw us away from a focused heart of gratitude. What does it mean to be undistracted during the holidays?

As we gathered to express our thanks for the Thanksgiving meal, I shared a reflection that was a bit morbid, but a good reminder. I said, “If we knew that this would be the last Thanksgiving for someone among us, how would this affect the way we cherished our time together?” We talked about taking some time to all share the things we were most grateful for in 2018. With good intentions, we failed to really capitalize on the moment. The distractions of seven small and very active children, cleaning up the kitchen and, for some, tuning in to football caused us to lose focus.

Undistracted Holidays

With the Christmas season now kicking into full gear, it isn’t going to get any better. We must think clearly about the little but dangerous distractions, and brace ourselves for a better focus.

The First Christmas

Recently, I read a commentary about the potential distractions that even Mary and Joseph may have faced at that first Christmas. In their much simpler environment, there were diversions that may have derailed their savoring of all that God was doing. This writer proposed the following possibilities:

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As a lead pastor for nearly three decades, Daniel Henderson helped several congregations experience transformation and renewal through an extraordinary commitment to prayer. Daniel now serves as founder and president of Strategic Renewal and is the national director for The 6.4 Fellowship. As a “pastor to pastors,“ he leads renewal experiences in local churches, speaks in a variety of leadership conferences, and coaches pastors across North America and beyond. Daniel is the author of over a dozen books, including, Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church Through Prayer and the Ministry of The Word, Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face, Transforming Presence: How The Holy Spirit Changes Everything - From The Inside Out, and Glorious Finish: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize of Eternity in a Time of Pastoral Failings.