In this series, I’ve challenged us to make sure our classes are ready to celebrate our Lord’s birth. I hope the series reminds us to give Jesus our best. I am suggesting twelve gifts this Christmas. In Part 1 I asked how you would fill in that day’s verse of this variation of the song, Twelve Days of Christmas (for a YouTube of the original song to inspire you, press the link). Here is what I have offered for the first seven verses:
- On the first day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Love of God, neighbors, and self.
- On the second day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Start of a second class.
- On the third day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Prayer for three prospects.
- On the fourth day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Four ministry calls.
- On the fifth day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Five quiet times.
- On the sixth day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Six acts of kindness.
- On the seventh day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…Seven days of prayer.
Take a moment to consider how you would complete the eighth verse:
On the eighth day of Christmas, my Sunday School class gave to Christ…
How did you complete the verse? Ask for your class’ response. Turn it into a request for class members’ commitment. Give your response to Christ and to each other. Make Christmas special by giving Jesus twelve birthday presents this year!
Here is how I would respond to today’s verse:
Eight hours of sleep.
Sleep? Yes. Too many are trying to run at too high of pace for too many hours per day with too little sleep. People are stressed out, burned out, and tired. Poor decisions and reactions are the result. The Lord’s work deserves our best attention and effort. That means rest is essential. This is true daily as well as on Saturday night.
Set a regular sleep time and practice. Start early on preparing for heading to bed and getting up daily. For most people, consistency makes sleep come more easily. Eat and exercise, but avoid heavy eating or exercise right before bed. In many cases, setting a regular time for sleep will also make daily quiet times easier to maintain.
When you rest well regularly, you will find increased energy and attention. You will listen to be people (and God) better. You will be better able to control your emotions. You will understand what you are reading in God’s Word. You will be more likely to see Him at work around you. Instead of accomplishing less because you slept more, you will likely get more done, remember more, and be more present.
Eight hours per day may not be your sweet spot, but rest the amount daily your body needs (whether more or less) to be everything God created you to be. Sleep. Give Him and others your best. Do more than sing the words to today’s verse! Commit to it. Live it. Do it! Grow. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!