When my daughter was young, she was infatuated with all things Cabbage Patch. The first Cabbage Patch dolls came on the market in 1983, and everyone had to have at least one (or two, or three). Apparently, in case you’re wondering, they are still available on Amazon for about sixty bucks! Oh my.
My point, however, is that things change.
CP dolls are not the rave they once were.
Christmas is about change too. Whether you are a Christ-follower or not, you can’t honestly deny the impact on the world that the first Christmas brought to us. The coming of the Christ-child changed the trajectory of history and billions of lives.
Sitting in front of my Christmas tree filled with ornaments and sparkling lights got me thinking about this time one year ago.
At that time, thoughts about and planning for our Christmas Eve services consumed me. In full-court press mode, everything about the season and my many responsibilities filled my days. I was on staff as a pastor and preparing my Christmas message series. I could barely sleep as the holiday kept me busy and excited.
Today, I am retired from ministry, and things are different and, in many ways, radically altered from just one year ago.
I’m not jotting down spiritual insights I plan on using in my Christmas talks.
I’m not taking extra vitamins C, D, and Zinc to ward off any potential holiday blues.
I’m not challenging and encouraging the staff to dream about how to make this the best Christmas ever.
This Christmas season is different.
But I’m okay.
Sure, part of me is struggling. What will it be like to sit in the pew on Christmas Eve as an attendee? (That will be weird.)
I will miss leading our people in Silent Night as we light candles.
I don’t get to read a Christmas story from my grandpa’s chair on stage to a bunch of wonderful and wiggly kids.
This year is vastly different than what I’ve experienced for over twenty years.
However, if I have learned anything in my sixty-five-plus years on this side of eternity, it’s this: things change.
Sometimes a little.
Sometimes a lot.
Sometimes change is easy.
Sometimes it is hard.
And I can only imagine how much might change over the next year of my life.
Will I say “goodbye” to more friends and family at unexpected funerals? (I officiated at seven funerals this past year.)
Will I gain new friends or lose some old ones?
Will I thrive in my new career as a coach and consultant or work as a greeter at Walmart?
Despite what may or may not come or what my circumstances might be, I do know change will come.
Change is inevitable, unavoidable, and inescapable.
That said, what I do when changes happen is up to me.
And here’s something else I’ve learned over the years: I can manage change, or change can manage me.
In other words, I can’t stop change, but I can determine in advance how I will face it when it happens.
I can go through change, or I can grow through it. Growth and ease rarely coexist.
I can be overwhelmed by complex changes or overcome challenges by choosing where I put my focus.
Regarding change, the poet Maya Angelou once wrote, “If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
As much as I try, I can’t control much of what is on the horizon, but I can control my outlook.
Years ago, I was a sailor. Sailing is generally peaceful, and being on the water is always a favorite pastime. When the winds changed, it didn’t do any good to complain. Instead, I adjusted the sails.
When your life is mildly, moderately, or massively altered in the coming year, rather than quitting or protesting, adjust your sails and keep moving.
Please change what you can (i.e., your perspective and attitude), and press on, my friend, press on.
This Post Has 22 Comments
I needed this message! Thank you for sharing it!
Hi Barb, I am so glad it encouraged you. You are loved!
Thank you very much for the words of wisdom built through your world of experiences. Very true that we can manage change or let change manage us. Thank you for this one. At timed the turbulent forces of this world can throw one out of balance and when i find my balance then i manage change. This is so so profound for me right now.
Greetings from Botswana
It is good to hear from you, Gao. You are a blessing to me and loved.
Thank you for sharing. Always good to hear from you. Praying change looks good on you. Love and miss you both ❤️
Love and miss you too, Esther.
Great points, Kurt. I was just realizing that next month will be 10 years since I had retired. Some things have come about as I had planned and hoped they would, but many have not. Placing myself in God’s hands and moving forward is the best way I have found to face those challenges.
Thank you, Bruce, I admire you!
Your words of Godly wisdom are appreciated and I needed to hear that right now. Thank you for sharing.
Glad my short post encouraged you, Linda.
Just what I needed to hear (read) at this moment, my friend.
I just got laid off – so things will be changing for me too.
I’m not sure what the changes will look like yet, but that isn’t up to me. It’s up to God.
I just have to press on – just like you said.
Thank you, Bob. I have been and will continue to pray for you, my friend.
Love this, and love you, Dad! A very good reminder.
You did like those dolls! I love and miss you, daughter.
Good stuff. Appreciate the encouragement.
You bet, Matt. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.
I can’t even begin to tell you how very much I needed to hear this… today… right now in this moment. The past 6 months or so have brought some huge change in my life and I’ve been letting it change me and that is taking a tole on me. I hear you today and I’m challenged to grow through it and choose my focus. God has never left my side but I’ve wandered a bit… trying to navigate on my own. Thank you for continuing to encourage us even as you take a new tac. I can’t quite imagine Christmas without you and Laura this year but know that God will hold us all close as we journey through this holiday season and beyond. I love and miss you both.
Thank you for the very kind words, Jenny. Praying for you right now. You are loved and missed as well.
Another excellent word of encouragement from you, Kurt! Thanks. And congratulations on your retirement and your new adventures beginning this Advent.
Thank you, Mary. Happy December! Hope you are well.
Thank you for that special encouragement. I always love listening to and learning from you over the years. I moved, and now I am starting over. Thank you, I need your word in my life.
You are most welcome, Pam. Blessings to you.
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