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If your pace does slow down, here are 4 places you may want to spend your Christmas downtime.

I realize not everyone gets to enjoy the Christmas season at a slower pace – for many youth workers, the Christmas season is a giant snowball that builds and builds, eventually gaining insane speed and crashing into the New Year with a resounding thwack. But for me this year, we’re scaling way back for the holidays. We cancelled the Christmas Extravaganza, small group parties are happening on their own, a special speaker is doing the Christmas teaching, and the big New Year’s dance never made it on the final winter calendar. So what to do with all of this newfound time, free from the endless barrage of e-mails, phone calls, and events?

If your pace does slow down a bit, here are 4 places you may want to spend your Christmas downtime:

Spend time alone
Finish the books you’ve started 2 months ago and are still on chapter 2. Get away from the noise. Turn off your phone and escape for a day. Pray. Meditate, reflect, celebrate. Get a waffle cone and people watch.

Spend time with students
Gather up the core students for a spontaneous night out. That one kid who comes on Sunday morning – ask a regular kid what his name is again then take him out for coffee. Think about that regular kid who needs a big challenge, the newbie who could use a connection, and the hurting kid who could use a hug. Go after the people you haven’t had the time for this fall.

Spend time with volunteers
Take a few volunteers out for a late-night movie, your treat. Surprise a small group leader at her office with a morning pastry. Invite some of your key leaders over for a casual dinner with your family.

Spend time with family
Look your kids in the eye and have a genuine conversation with them. Enjoy the lights of the Christmas tree, just you, your significant other, and some eggnog. Plan a “camping night” in front of the fireplace.  

Josh Griffin Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!

More from Josh Griffin or visit Josh at http://www.downloadyouthministry.com

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