The holidays feel a little bit different this year – maybe we’ve been hanging out for them a little bit more? After a year of disruption, where events have been cancelled, postponed and replaced with online options, the end of the year marks an opportunity to take a break.
Sunday school teachers go on holidays, Bible study and playgroup are off, and we may also spend a few weeks away from our local church. As Sydney stares potential lockdown in the face once more, and programs like beach mission and CMS Summer School are not being held in the usual way, it could be easy for the summer holidays to also be a break from our spiritual lives.
Turn the holidays into a growth opportunity
Eve Reloaded podcast hosts Rebecca Lui and Zhien-U Bakarich say holidays require more intention but can be incredibly beneficial. Both Mrs Lui and Mrs Bakarich have young families, so the break means they have much less time for themselves. However, the pair are confident this time of year can also be an opportunity for spiritual growth.
Whereas, in the past, Mrs Lui might have seen the holidays as a chance to read books on doctrine, these days she is focused on finding small moments to reflect on God. “We are people of the word, so my aim is to pray, reflect and let the word dwell richly,” she says.
"reflect and let the world dwell richly"
Mrs Bakarich agrees, saying that holidays are an opportunity to go a little bit deeper and be more intentional: “When your weekly routine is on pause, it's a good time to remember the greatness of God and things we can be thankful for..”
On a recent episode of Eve Reloaded, the pair discussed the Christmas holidays and what they had planned to help ensure it is centred around Jesus' birth – such as introducing their children to Christmas carols, focusing on the lead-up to Christmas and what it means to keep waiting for Jesus.
Connecting as a community doesn’t have to stop
The pair also say that meeting with other Christian women plays a big role in ensuring they focus on God when their normal structures aren’t in place. Mrs Bakarich believes that while fellowship doesn’t need to be structured, it is important to be proactive.
For example, during COVID both have found intentional catch-ups to be spiritually enriching. By ensuring they were intentional, they have been able to point each other to Jesus.
"When your weekly routine is on pause, it's a good time to remember the greatness of God and things we can be thankful for..”
Mrs Bakarich says it is easy to shift focus and make catch-ups more intentional by asking simple questions such as, “What can I be praying for you?” or “What is God teaching you right now?”.
Mrs Lui adds that holidays can be a key missional moment. “For me, having less structured activities means I can arrange playdates with lovely Christian sisters and also reach out to new friendships I’ve made," she says.
"I find going past the awkwardness and having conversations that aim to share the gospel drives you to know your Bible better and doctrine more thoroughly, too.”