shepherds

Proper Care and Feeding for an Introvert at Christmas

There are many fantastic things about Christmas, including:  wonderful music, festivities, eggnog, generosity, beautiful lights and lots more!  Of course, the best thing about Christmas is thinking about Jesus coming into human existence as a newborn and the whole Christmas story.  When I ponder Jesus’ birth and the surrounding events, like the angelic visitation to the shepherds and magi following a star, I’m deeply awed when I consider all of this as a vibrant expression of God loving humanity.

But alas, sometimes Christmas can get swallowed up in the frenzy of parties, cookies, concerts, caroling, wrapping, decorating, shopping, baking and heaps more.  And coming from an introvert’s point of view, sometimes Christmas can be overwhelming.  So if you know an introvert (coworker, family member, spouse, neighbor, classmate, etc.), here might be some helpful suggestions that could sooth that introvert and keep them less prickly.

  • Space:  whenever introverts have heavy obligations or frequent demands (office parties, school programs, Christmas concerts, secret Santa exchanges), they will need space (breathing room) to offset these expectations.
  • Quiet:  loud Christmas music, raucous parties and blaring noises can necessitate some quiet for your introvert.  They can struggle if noise (background TV, carols, concerts, programs) seems to be endless.
  • Solitude:  Christmas is a social season and while introverts can be social, it’s helpful to remember that they recover and get refueled with solitude or quiet company
  • Depth:  Lots of times Christmas overflows with superficial conversations about the weather, getting shopping done, being ready for Christmas, kids activities, reindeer accessories, etc.  Introverts flourish in deep conversations and shrivel in the shallow exchanges.
  • Feeding:  sometimes you can lure an introvert from their den with a plate of cookies, or their favorite snack J

My daughter and I were talking about the whole introvert and extrovert Christmas experience and we both enjoyed chatting about these respective viewpoints and how we process Christmas.  No matter if you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, Christmas is the celebration and evidence of God expressing genuine love for humanity.

And as we think about Jesus’ birth, I’m often riveted by the shepherd’s experience in Luke 2 because maybe they were introverts, keeping watch over their sheep in a field at night.  Shepherds at this time in history lived a more solitary existence, since sheep required abundant pastures for foraging, along with quiet brooks for clean water.  And when their work had become the most quiet and settled, in the night watches, they were freaked out with an angelic visit, complete with God’s glory shining around them.  Of course, the angel, Gabriel, told them not to be afraid, because they were astounded!

Furthermore, after Gabriel’s announcement, heaps more angels popped onto the scene with singing and celebration – an incredible divine interruption and display of jubilant revelry!  The shepherds responded to this experience by hustling into Bethlehem to find the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.  I’m pretty sure that Mary, Jesus’ mom, was somewhat surprised to see these strangers celebrating her sons’ birth and maybe she was also an introvert, pondering these things in her heart.

Whatever your personality is, let’s remember that Jesus’ birth is the crosshairs for Christmas and let’s stay in grateful awe of God’s extravagant genuine love for us, personified in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s Son.

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, cooking, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 1 comment

anticipation :)

Looking forward to something is lots of fun!  I like to look forward to lots of things:  picking up my kids from school, having a family meal together, snowboarding, a good cup of coffee, deep conversations, hanging out with friends, getting to express Jesus’ extravagant & opulent love, dreaming about Jesus, making a pecan pie, reading a good book, . . . .   We all have things that we look forward to – maybe your list is similar to my list 🙂

Here’s something I think that God looks forward to:  I think He waits with huge & eager anticipation for when we discover Jesus.  The reason I think this is because of the whole shepherd experience in announcing Jesus’ birth.  If you read through this in Luke 2:8-17, you can see some pretty cool things.  First of all, the shepherds were hanging w their sheep in the field at night, generally a dark & quiet time, when they could have all been sleeping.  Then there are a couple of “suddenly”s – an angel appearing to the shepherds with glory all around the angel & then heavenly hosts breaking out in praise.  These activities certainly interrupted the normal night “quiet & still” – no silent night with these angels!  They stirred up the shepherds so much that we read that the shepherds hurried to find out what the angels were all wound up about – why they had busted into their normal routine to make such a grandiose & noisy announcement. 

I think God was TOTALLY pumped to interrupt the shepherd’s routine, based on the way the angels were behaving!!  Furthermore because God’s character is consistent every day, I think God gets UBER EXCITED to introduce us to Jesus – maybe not even just for the first time.  In this season, I’d encourage you to get some still & quiet to give God the opportunity to break into your life – to get you stirred up about Jesus being part of your life & not just a religious introduction or a traditional song about one of holiday’s of the year.  Anticipation:  God looks forward to getting to be with you 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, living, spiritual, 0 comments

Christmas & worship

mangerJust my opinion here, but I don’t think you can separate genuine Christmas from worship – they’re more than mutually compatible.  I think they’re interdependant.   If you give it much thought, it seems pretty impossible to separate the two when you consider that God took on human flesh, humbled Himself to be born into a dark & sinful world, spending His 1st night in a feeding trough for an animal, to an unwed mother.  Add to the mix that some wisemen who studied the stars & who were considered to be the philosophers of their day show up with some really nice gifts & fall on their knees to worship this baby, along w some smelly shepherds who had an angelic enounter & were EXTREMELY excited. 

Here are some reasons to worship: 

  • God came to earth to live in human skin
  •  an angelic announcement got the shepherds all stirred up!
  • God warned Joseph about Herod trying to kill baby boys & Joseph protected Jesus by moving to Egypt
  • Jesus didn’t “lay low” during His human experience – He was completely & thoroughly engaged w humanity
  • Jesus loves us as much today as He did the day He died on the cross

What are some other reasons that cause you to worship Jesus?

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, 0 comments