Spiritual Guidance

“Priorities for Our Season”

Central Chaplain

Elliott R. Oakes

     We are now in the midst of sorting out our time for the approaching Christmas season. I don’t look forward to that aspect of Christmas planning. MaryJo and I started the last week in November to send out Christmas cards and we will be doing some every evening until a week before Christmas. We are looking forward to a Great Grand baby in January 2022, they are in Utah. The nice part is we can see them on the computer, way to far to drive; though that would be very nice.

     I do not know anyone, who does not bump up against time management during our holidays. Hectic, hectic, hectic seems the way of things. Doing more shopping on the internet has not really brought any more peace to the hustle and bustle. We have been planning for Christmas this year more so than previous years because we have a daughter and her family we won’t see. That means sending presents to them, all seven of them. We will get-er-done. The other child and her family are very close, so that will be very good for all of us.

     What have we learned? Just this: we are not spending money like we have in years past. We are already planning more time together running up to Christmas. For us folk in fire, EMS and police there is another management challenge: learning the word NO. You might remember that we a type “A” personality and the added caveat of having a compassionate heart. That sets up an internal conflict, which requires another set of management skills. Not just time management, but life management skills as well. The first rule of any frontline, people oriented work is this: Take Care of Yourself first or you will not be able to take care of the people you are serving.  That means your family, your friends and you!!! Jesus came to serve us and give his life for us but he prepared for thirty years then taught for the last three years. He taught us how to serve without being burnt out. First, trust him and God the Father. Second, rest in him and the Father, don’t always be a-doin something. Jesus rested and showed his followers how to really rest. Then third, listen to The Holy Spirit daily and even minute by minute. This takes a whole different kind of work and energy which God will supply. Christmas is all about Jesus and God’s plan for each and every one of us to live daily, without becoming burnt out. Saint Augustan said: “Pray like everything depends on God, and work like everything depends on you, because both are true”. Have a very, merry Christmas. You see this is our season. Without Christmas there is no Cross, and without the cross of Christ there is no hope. Hope is what we give daily if we learn how to take care of ourselves. God Bless you!!!

Chaplains Elliott and MaryJo Oakes


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