To the world, readiness for Christmas has everything to do with pies baked and purchases made, and little to do with spiritual preparation. The all too typical approach often seems to be a prescription for a pressurized holiday where Jesus' birth occasions feelings of anxiety or depression. Therefore, it is important for Christians to model something different, where the arrival of Our Savior can be recaptured as a time for joy, especially in the midst of difficult times, as opposed to an attempt to drown out or deny trying circumstances.
One of my favorite things to do is take time off, not only to decompress, but also re-vision my sense of self, my calling, and my God. Stepping away from daily pursuits offers valuable perspective, and there's a reason why the One Who called a Universe into being, commanded us to take regular rest.
The caravan meandered in slow procession through the dirty streets barren of life. White vans accompanied by an SUV, and military escort fore and aft, negotiated the New Orleans neighborhoods of moldering grass and rotting trees.
The creaky train wends its way through shadowy tunnels, downward toward the sprawling metropolis teeming with yellow cabs and harried pedestrians. Exiting the underground, walking several blocks and eventually passing through the checkpoint, the sun shines differently here than anywhere else.