A middle aged couple, while driving to a banquet one evening decided to discuss the closeness of their relationship. To make her point the wife reminisces, “Remember when we were first dating and even after we were married a while, whenever we drove somewhere, I always sat in the middle and you would put your arm around me. I would rub your shoulders and when we stopped at a light you would lean over and give me a kiss. It seems like we never do that anymore. We now sit on opposite sides of the seat. Why is that?” The man turned to his wife and replied, “Well, I’m driving so you are the one that moved over.”
Moving away from God can happen for a number of reasons. We have already discussed being busy and being caught up in emotions. Other reasons include feelings of entitlement, self-pity, and self-centeredness. It is import for us to make a conscious effort to sit in that middle seat again with God, to move closer and practice those things that give us access to the sunlight of the Spirit. While it is a given that one’s prayer life must not falter during the holidays, it is also prudent to remember and practice service work and gratefulness.
For the past 20 years, my family has made a conscious effort be involved in service work either through a local church, a civic organization, or a nonprofit organization. We have grown closer through activities such as building houses with Habitat for Humanity, serving food to the homeless at the SAMM shelter, Christmas caroling at a nursing home, delivering presents to children through Project Angel Tree, or leading songs in a church service at the Strong Foundation home in San Antonio. In addition to helping, we keep our perspective on the meaning of the holidays; it also brings our family closer together.
My grandma used to say “count your blessings.” It was such a trite phrase to me as a child. Now, in contrast, I can look toward the holidays and remember, I have a roof over my head, I have a job I love, I have a family that I am proud of, and no matter what goes wrong I can still be grateful. Each holiday I experience is one where I won’t be stumbling around drunk and embarrassing myself and others, I won’t wake up in jail or in a ditch, and I won’t have to regret it. I now think I understand the profundity of Grandma’s words.