Christmas BREAK: Take time to reflect and refocus on the mission

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[g] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

lake in forest
Photo by Brett Sayles on

If Jesus was a modern day teacher, how would He handle Christmas break?

No, I’m not talking about celebrating His own birthday (although if your birthday is over Christmas break you should celebrate). But what teaching responsibilities would Jesus do over a break from school?

In today’s American culture, it’s almost a badge of honor to be too busy with work. But we see throughout the new testament that Jesus has a different philosophy. He regularly takes breaks from his ministry. But why?

Jesus understands the value of rest. God even modeled resting during creation (on the 7th day he rested). Throughout scripture, we regularly see Jesus taking an intentional break from ministry. He would go off by Himself or with close friends (the disciples) to pray.

Take time to rest this Christmas break. It’s actually one of the 10 commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:8-11

It is important to intentionally and consistently rest in order to be an effective teacher. That may same like a contradiction, but resting can help make us a better teacher. Rest is good for your body, mind, and spirit. Being lazy does not equal being restful. Be intentional about your rest. You know which activities leave you feeling refreshed.

Read that book you’ve been wanting to, participate in #DitchSummit (which I highly recommend), spend time with family and friends, play some games (UNO and Shark Bite are currently my family’s favorites), meditate, do some exercise, etc. Do something that refreshes and energizes you. Take care of yourself so you will be rejuvenated to take care of your students after the break. Just like athletes make sure their body is in top shape to perform before a game, we must do the same before the new semester starts.

It’s called Christmas BREAK for a reason.

That goes for your students too. Don’t assign homework over the break. (You already know my thoughts on homework). They need a break just as much as you. Check out Ditch That Homework by Alice Keeler or Matt Miller. Alice also wrote this blog post (which inspired my current post) on taking a break.

Use this Christmas break to rest, reflect, and refocus on your mission to educate kids and change the world. Your mission is extremely important. Don’t become weary from doing good, avoid burnout. Take a break and get refreshed, so you can be more effective after the break.

Not only do we need to do this over Christmas break, but regularly throughout the school year. Take intentional moments to stop, reflect, and refocus. This is an important process in the learning cycle. Let’s not skip over it for our students or ourselves. You will become a better teacher if you do so and ultimately your students will benefit.

Reply in the comments below, how are you going to rest this Christmas break? I will be reading a couple of fiction books, playing Legos and board games with my kids, and spending time with family.


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