I don’t know why the dark cloud that descends on me every year at Christmas time took me by surprise… again. I can trace this depression back to my youth when I wrote an essay entitled, “The After-Christmas Depression.” Of course, then, I attributed the blues to the crash after the euphoria of Christmas. But now, as an adult, I know it’s more than that.
Perhaps it has to do with the days being shorter. Or how everything is brown outside. Or that I can’t enjoy my “garden therapy.”
I’m sure it’s a combination of all of that, but I can also look at my time with God as a factor.
Getting Back on Schedule
When I’m on a schedule, rising before my children in the darkness of the morning, my time with God is intentional, deep, vibrant. I brew my coffee in the pre-dawn darkness, cuddle in a blanket on my recliner, and open my Bible. But during Christmas break I let myself sleep longer and find my quiet time more like loud time. Reading a quick devotional with Sid the Science Kid blaring in the background doesn’t exactly scream intimacy with God.
I looked forward to the end of Christmas break — to the discipline of a schedule and to renewed time with God. The first day reminded me of the treasures I had given up over Christmas break. On day one, God’s gentle nudge pointed me to a truth I needed to understand in His Word.
Later, after dropping the kids off at school, I took my daily walk in the crisp winter morning. I pulled out my phone, getting ready to check social media for the day, but stopped.
I read an article recently about how it’s important to carve out quiet space for prayer in our lives. I decided that even though I had spent time in the Word that morning, I would take a lap in my walk to meditate on what I had read, praying over it.
God took that truth that I had seen earlier and brought it to my life. Like an “aha” moment, I saw several circumstances in my life to which I needed to apply this understanding.
For me, this quiet prayer walk was more than a quiet prayer walk. It was a time when my mind and heart sat still to hear God’s message to me. To commune with God.
Riches in the Quiet Spaces
So often, I fill my empty spaces with empty entertainment — social media, TV, even reading — that I miss the most important fellowship of all. I’m realizing that when I fill my time with these things, it’s like the noise in my life amps up a level.
What do we do when we’re in a crowded room and want to hear someone speak? We usually take the conversation somewhere more quiet, where we can hear clearly.
Though I haven’t set any New Year’s Resolutions, I am trying to turn the noise down a notch in my life. That may mean walking a lap or two in the mornings without looking at my phone, training my mind to enter into a quiet place of prayer. Or it may mean resisting the temptation to check social media during a lull in the day. Perhaps God has something to say to me in those still moments.
If God speaks in a whisper — which He often does — I want to hear Him.