I was standing in a chapel that’s over a hundred years old with a small candle in my hand. The tiny flame cast a soft light toward the bricks and stained-glass windows. A holy hush filled the room between Christmas carols and it felt as if my soul let out a sigh.
It had been a busy week, after all. There were trips to stores for last-minute gifts, delicious things to bake in the oven, dinner with friends where the topic of conversation turned to our plans for the new year. But in the silence and stillness of the Christmas Eve candlelight service, I realized I needed to catch my breath before I got to Christmas morning, before I reached the first page of another calendar. I needed a pause in the middle of the hustle the season can bring. Maybe you do too, this year.
I think of what David said, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on the work of your hands” (Psalm 143:5). What if those three words—remember, meditate, reflect—offer us a three-step process, a way of slowing ourselves down and connecting with God during this busy time of year?
To remember means to recount or be mindful. With the new year knocking on our doors, it can be easy to overlook what has come before. Moses told the Israelites over and over, “Remember….” We can do the same by asking this simple question: “What has God brought me through this year?”
After we’ve focused on what’s happened we can go deeper by not only remembering but meditating. This word simply means to think about something in an intentional way. In other words, we’re not just recalling specific events but considering who’s behind them. We can ask ourselves, “Where have I seen God’s hand in my life this year?”
Once we recognize God’s hand in our lives we can reflect on what He has done for us. As David often showed through his psalms, this leads to gratitude, praise and spiritual growth. We can ask, “What am I grateful for this year and what have I learned that will help me grow in the next year?”
Going through these questions doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. You can pause right now and think through them, talk about them with friends and family or consider them over candlelight on an almost silent night. Eventually the service ended and I stepped into the brightness of a noisy foyer filled with people. The holy hush of the last few moments was over. But my heart felt more prepared to go back into the middle of all that was happening. I even felt a bit more excitement about the new year coming.
We live in a world that tells us we must always keep moving. But sometimes what we need most is to pause for a few moments. Sometimes we go forward by looking back. Sometimes we make progress by being still. Sometimes silence is where we finally discover what our hearts really need to hear.
Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate, rejoice and connect. Let’s also offer our hurried hearts the gift of a few moments to remember, meditate and reflect.
MORE FOR YOU
Pray with me: Dear God, please still my hurried heart this Christmas. Prince of Peace, please help me remember what You’ve done, meditate on Your Truth, and choose gratitude this season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Free Download: I’m planning to find a few moments of quiet this Christmas season. (Those moments will likely include three of my favorite things: a fuzzy blanket, mug of something cozy and encouraging words.) I’d love to share my free “Hope for the Holidays” sampler with you, in case you also need a moment of quiet and a little bit of encouragement.
Listen: Looking for an encouraging podcast to listen to while traveling for the holidays? Join myself, Suzie Eller, and Jennifer Watson for More Than Small Talk. (We just passed one million downloads!)
Learn: I’ve added bonus content to the 7 Ways to Thrive as an Introvert Course! If you’re an introvert and you want to not only embrace who you are but also become all you’re created to be, this is for you.