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“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

The holidays have built in stressors. During the holidays, people tend to spend more money than they should.  There are extra social events to attend, in addition to our everyday responsibilities.  And some of us spend our time in forced family gatherings, instead of with the people whose company we truly enjoy.  It is a time when all of us truly need to be in this world, but not of it.

Being “in this world” means that we need to participate in the holidays. So, we should be buying presents for our families and friends, and we should be donating to the poor.  We should be reaching out to those we care about through cards, calls and emails to let them know how important they are to us.  And we should be decorating our homes to make them more cheerful for those who come to visit.

But we don’t need to be “of this world.”  That means we need to withstand social pressure. We don’t need to accept every dinner and party invitation.  We don’t need to go into debt from gift giving.  And we can limit how much time we spend with those who we see only out of obligation.

Being not of this world means periodically removing ourselves from it and, as Paul says, “renewing” our minds. We all renew our minds in different ways.  My renewal occurred this weekend when I sat down in the church pew on Sunday morning.  When the organist began to play the prelude, I had a feeling of peace and relaxation sweep over me.  That feeling lasted through to the benediction.  I hadn’t felt so at ease in days.  I may have physically been “in” the world on Sunday morning, but for at least one hour, I was not “of” it.

Church isn’t the only way that I break away from the world to renew my mind. Reading is another way.  When I read, I am transported to other worlds.  Reading gives me the opportunity to think about things in a new way.  Listening to music and making music are also ways that I refresh my mind.  Beautiful music soothes our souls in a way that nothing else can.

Now that the holidays are in full swing, consider the ways that you can give yourself some necessary breaks. Think of the ways that you can enjoy what is magical about this season and limit the irritations.  This December, try to be in the world, but not of it.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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