By Eric Rojas
I have a kid getting married.
There, I said it. I can’t believe it. It truly feels like it was just yesterday that I was at Judson University as a student, choir member, baseball player and so on. Where did the time go?
I’m extremely proud of Luke and his fiancée, Megan. Megan is graduating this Saturday from Judson, and Luke will do so in the spring after his last season of baseball. (And, yes, I am Luke’s father, for you Star Wars fans!)
I’m so blessed by the path God has put my family and me on — so blessed. However, all that blessing doesn’t take away the fact that time is rolling on like a freight train at the speed of the Shanghai Maglev, the fastest train in the world.
Why do I bring this up at Christmastime, when everyone is together and joy is in abundance for most? Because I wanted to take a moment to encourage you, as a leader, to embrace it, cherish it, and make the most of it. We can get so busy with the hustle and bustle that we can find ourselves looking forward to it being over. I get that — but truly, what a mistake that is.
Let me encourage you to do a few things to make the most of your holidays together at a family and spiritual level this year.
- Pray together. Isn’t it amazing how we tell people that we’ll pray for them — and then we don’t (or hardly ever) do it with them? Do it this year. Take and make the time to do that around the dinner table. Step up as a spiritual leader for your family.
- Make traditions. Kids and family members might balk and poke fun; but, in the end, they’ll remember those cherished holiday traditions. Don’t ever feel “too tired this year” to do them.
- Create unique memory-makers each year. This year, our family is going to Chicago for New Year’s Eve. We’ve never done that before, but it sure sounds like a fun memory-maker. New memories take time to brainstorm and execute, and it will require requiring some to be a part, but it will be worth it!
- Put Christ in Christmas. No, I don’t mean you have to put a cheesy bumper sticker on you car. But I do mean that we shouldn’t run through Christmas and not do more than tip our cap to the fact that it’s all about Jesus. Read the Christmas story on Christmas morning. Do an advent devotional and candles as a family. (Yes, you can start late if you want!) Bring friends to church for Christmas Eve services and special events. Get creative with how to put Christ back in the season. Maybe even have a Jesus birthday cake.
- Use your extra time wisely. Many of us get a few extra days off at Christmas. Are you using that for purposeful, one-one-one time with your kids and / or spouse, hanging out a little more with good friends, and putting in a little more reading and time with the Lord? Or, are you sleeping more, eating more and watching more TV?
I can’t wait for my son to get married in a few weeks. What a celebration it will be, and what an exciting new chapter of our lives!
As he “leaves the nest,” I can honestly say that while we were far from perfect, there were some great holiday times that we took advantage of. They will live with us always.
I pray the same for you and yours this Christmas season — Merry Christmas!
Eric Rojas loves his role as the executive pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL, where he oversees a staff of 120 and serves alongside Senior Pastor Jim Nicodem. He has been on staff at CCC since 2000.
During his 20+ years of ministry, Rojas has served in churches as a youth pastor, adult ministries pastor, small groups pastor, associate pastor, worship pastor and men’s pastor. He is a contributing author for Group Publishing’s Men’s Ministry in the 21st Century and has written for various magazines and websites.
Rojas also serves the church-at-large through consulting and seminar presenting.
He has been married to his wife, Rachel, for 22 years. They have 3 children — Luke, 21; Adam, 19; and Chloe, 17. A man of faith, Rojas believes that next year is the year the Cubs will finally win the World Series.