Over the holidays, we played numerous board games. We put puzzles together. We skated. We tobogganed. We read books. We ate good food. We stayed up. We slept in. We sang songs and my son made some up. We laughed. The kids cried a little. We shopped a little and a lot. We wrapped gifts. We unwrapped gifts. We hugged. We decorated. I reflected.
Now, as I am contemplating heading back to work and a return to our regular programming, I am a little hesitant. It is not that I do not love our daily living. I like that our kids are involved in activities which include learning and socializing. I like that we have the means and abilities to do these activities. Our family benefits from routine and order. (I know my kindergarten students certainly do). I also like the people that we would not otherwise know, if not for these additional activities. But there is a little part of me that will miss the relaxed days.
When I am getting things done and keeping busy, I do not want to miss friendships that need nurturing. I still want to be stopped by the frost on the trees. I want to recognize that the schedule is a means and not the goal. I want to be a force for good in the lives of my students, while still trying to get them on that bus.
I wish I always felt love for the Proverbs 31 wife of noble character. I must admit that sometimes I avoid her because I feel my days come nowhere close to measuring up to hers. But I am reminded that she was and is an ideal that a king’s mother had in mind. I love that this mother admonished her son to:
“8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy,”….before she mentioned the search for his ideal mate.
His mother wanted him to find a woman who “opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy,” rather than finding a woman who cared more about how she looked. This ideal woman that this mother imagined has means and is resourceful with what she has. I love the verse, “She brings him good, not harm. All the days of her life.”
I can do that! I can bring my husband good, not harm. I can choose my words and build him up. I can pass along toys and clothes my children receive. I can teach them about what they have and how to be generous. I can bridle my tongue and work on wisdom and discernment by praying for the Holy Spirit to speak when I open my mouth.
My mind can still be at peace, even when the holidays are over. I do not need to shelve a restful approach and attitude along with the Christmas decorations. Creation and recreation–work and Sabbath- were made for us. Both need to co-exist in our week so that we can live this life with abundant joy.