Whether we just became a disciple or have been Christians for a while this is probably how going home for winter break feels: like spending time in the past. Most of us have spent more time in the world than as disciples, and going home for the holidays will be at odds with past holidays. Truth is it should be different. I cannot give you all the specifics, but like training for anything, the holidays are an issue of where do you want to be at the end of it all. Here are a few thoughts:
Family is the number one reason college students go home, and I know many of us pray to see the influence of God be transferred onto our family members. Sometimes we can want it too badly, put zeal before knowledge and unintentionally hurt those around us. We forget this because we have lived a semester of change and expect it to be obvious. But most of us have been away for months while our family has only seen or heard a fraction of this change. The most important lesson I have learned is that with family the power comes from speaking about our lives and not trying to speak into theirs. Most people watched Jesus awhile before they listened to him.
Perhaps we should focus on the best reason to go home. The best leader the world has ever known was its best servant. People hear us share with our mouths, but they watch us vote with our feet. The areas we choose and the areas we choose to show up and serve will elect the magnitude of our impact. Serve in ways that scare you. More realistically, serve in ways that annoy you. Let me be honest. Family is the most arduous and consistent thing that I have prayed for since I was baptized 8 years ago. I do not cry often, but I would straight up lose it for them to believe in God the way he believes in them. Like me, you will mess up a lot and experience will feel like a brutal teacher. It could be a week, month, a year, or more, but no one wants to see your family saved more than God; trust his timing.
I know myself, and I know that my good intentions get lost in the day easily. If I prioritize other things in the morning and run from God in the morning, I am less likely to find him the rest of the day. Many of us set goals over the holidays, and with the extra time the break offers, we need that. The world needs that. We want to memorize all the scriptures in the study series, finally read Crazy Love, or learn how to preach in Spanish. Do that. Set goals that are different, meaningful to you, and leave you with a feeling that only God can make this a reality.
Too often, we love the intensity of our dream and not the consistency it takes to see into realization. My pop used to say, “You gotta love the practice. The game is just where that hard work is seen.” Being that he was a Division 1 college basketball player, I did my best to take him at his word. The only winter break goals that will stick are the ones we work daily on trusting consistency over intensity, practice over the game, and getting where we want to be on purpose.
Let’s all have a Merry Christmas remembering that all roads leading home should bring Jesus along with us.