The presents have been unwrapped. The Christmas decorations have been put away. Christmas dinners have been swapped for leftover ham sandwiches. If your house is like mine, the festivities are over, but the free time has just begun. With more than a week left in Christmas break, I’ve been looking for creative ways to fill the downtime.
If you’ve found yourself with a lot of time to fill this week (or in the future), here are five ideas for using your free time well.
1. Rest up.
Did you know that the Bible mentions Sabbath (taking a break to rest) 150 times? In contrast, it talks about the value of hard work somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty times. We have a tendency to get addicted to busyness. We tend to think we have more value when we are up and doing something. It’s good to work hard and we ought to seek to avoid the trappings of chronic laziness, but taking a break every now and then is A-Okay with God. In fact, it’s His idea.
So rest up. Refuel. Relax. Write yourself a permission slip to recharge your batteries. Resist the urge to fill every second with going and doing.
2. Clean out.
Did you get new clothes for Christmas? New shoes? New books?
If so, are there some old items that you can let go to make room for the new? There are people in every community who are in need of the items we take for granted. The season of giving may be over, but the need to give generously isn’t.
Did you know that by simply going through your closet and donating items to those in need, Jesus says you are actually being a blessing to Him?
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me'” (Matt. 25:34–40).
Rather than letting your old stuff collect dust, find a way to get it into the hands of those who need it.
3. Give thanks.
I know I’m going to sound like a total mom here (because I am one!), but one great way to fill your time is by sending thank-you notes. Start with the people who gave you gifts this year for Christmas. Each present represents thought, love, and resources spent on you. Why not take a minute and say thank you?
Wait! Before you put away the stationary (you know, that stuff that you write on and mail), keep in mind you don’t have to stop with your Christmas list. Who has made a difference in your life this year? Who has been an example of Christ to you? Write them a note thanking them for their investment and example.
4. Love your family well.
Are your siblings getting on your nerves? Are you experiencing just a little too much family time?
I get that. I do.
But God calls you to serve your family. The extra time at home is a great opportunity to bend over backward for the people in your house.
Here are some strong words from the book of 1 Timothy:
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (5:8).
Timothy said that the proof of your faith is in how you treat your family. Ouch! What can you do to serve your parents and siblings during this season?
5. Do some make-up work.
When I challenge girls to read their Bibles, I often hear that they don’t have time. When school is in full swing and activities require much of you, it can be difficult to make reading the Word a priority. But this lull in between Christmas and the New Year provides a gap in your schedule where you can do some “make-up work.”
Set aside some time to study God’s Word during the break. You can study a short book from the Bible like James or Jude, check out some online Bible study tools, or listen to some Bible-teaching podcasts (some of my favorite Bible teachers are James MacDonald, Hank Hanegraaff, and my own pastor, Tim Cook.
I’ll share five more ways to use your free time well in tomorrow’s post. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What can you do to use to make the most of downtime?