Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly reliant on my online calendar; classes, meetings, coffee dates, phone calls, times for work or rest all have a neatly colored slot on the screen. Yet as I scroll through the next few weeks, the reality of graduating amid such global uncertainty reveals itself in a series of empty, unclaimed days ahead.
Life for nearly everyone has been upended to some degree these days, and it can be easy to get swept away in a current of fear and anxiety, or to teeter out on the edges of loneliness. In times like these, when many things seem to be out of one’s control, turning (or returning) to daily, simple practices of prayer can provide a deep peace that only comes from opening oneself up to the grace and love of God.
Elijah was having a good day, until he wasn’t. He had just defeated hundreds of false prophets on his own, then brought rain down upon the drought-stricken Israel, all in the sight of the king who had been seeking his downfall. The Israelites flocked to Elijah’s God, leaving behind their divided allegiance to other deities. It was a good day––until Jezebel heard what Elijah had done.
For anyone working in ministry, or any parent, or really any human being, the emotional spectrum of the days leading up to Christmas can often range from stressful to beyond chaotic. In a time that is supposed to be about ‘peace on earth toward people of good will,’ these days can feel anything but peaceful, and the risk of burnout becomes very real.