Last year, former procrastinators, there were 25 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year there are 30. Yea! Just for us! Jump back – think again.
“Ponder the path of your feet and let your ways be established.” Proverbs 4:26. In this busy, festive season it’s easy for our feet to run in circles cramming in activities, waste time wandering store aisles, back track repeating our efforts, or come to a standstill, stalling in confusion. Instead, we’d like to walk steadily toward our intended destination with resting places along the way.
What do you intend for the holiday season? I aim to focus on Jesus and people, be ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead of time (with margin), be relaxed, and enjoy the weeks of celebration.
How can I pull this off? Psalm 90:12: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” By prayerfully calculating the time available to us, we can gain a heart of wisdom – recognize what to prioritize and focus there.
Here’s a very practical application of that scripture that helps me a lot.
- Write down all the things you need and/or want to do. Highlight the priorities. Make a reasonable estimate of the time needed to accomplish your list.
- Literally count the days between now and Thanksgiving and between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- Then, as far as you can tell, count the “useable work days.” These will be fewer than the total days. I omit Sundays. Also for me, days with Bible study and errands are not available; neither are days with 5 hour meetings, or afternoons with far away appointments. We use small amounts of time, but for calculating what we have to work with, be realistic about the hours available to you.
- See if the days/times available are sufficient for doing what you want or need to do. Adjust accordingly – making sure to focus on priorities. Remember there will be unexpected winter weather, illness, etc. so don’t plan too tightly. Allow margin.
- This calculation can help avoid disappointment, frustration, short tempers, and rushing. It can enable us to be realistic and joyful.
How delightful to have more days this year! Careful not to “over relax” and become presumptuous about the time available.
Earlier I designated November for making two gifts I figured would take five days each. Unexpected family needs have left me with a total of four days. Also, our Christmas celebration with family will be December 10. That eliminates ten more days of preparation. Clearly, I have to adjust.
Being realistic by calculating what we truly have to work with shows wisdom. Using that time for priorities will help us wisely go where we intend to go. We – and those around us – can celebrate with joy, peace, and gratitude.
How do your calendar calculations come out?