Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

Transitions can be difficult; even those meant to facilitate positive movement in life or provide new opportunities can be traumatic. After all, transitioning or changing means adapting and getting used to new routines. It means accepting that old patterns are gone, and new, unfamiliar patterns will be prevalent in life. Again, even if these are good things, they are new and must be handled. Many times, we find that we are not equipped to handle even the things for which we may have prayed or asked God to send us, such as new career opportunities, larger houses, an expanded family, and new friendships. 

At the holidays, the opportunities for transitions increase. In fact, we have many changes thrust upon us during this time of year. During the holidays, we are expected to interact with extended family, give back more generously to our communities, friends and family, and begin to think about how we might improve ourselves in the coming year. On top of it all, we are supposed to give thanks and think of others before we think of ourselves. In a way, these are transitions too, such as moving our thinking from our own little circle of family, work, and daily routine to others. It is worth noting, too, that most of the time we do find that we adapt to these changes every year, and we do come out better for it—whether we do so consciously or unconsciously.

During the holidays, it might be the perfect opportunity for all of us to think about additional transitions in life and make these changes and improvements permanent. How should we focus more on family? How could we improve on ourselves in the coming year? These are all details that often show up on our radar during this season. In order to be more successful, we need to actually think about how we might gradually make these changes so that they stick. If we incorporate a workout into our daily morning routine, make sure that the hours fit with our work schedule, and confirm we have a place to shower and get ready, then we have a plan that works and may stay a part of our daily routine moving forward. If we vow to eat right, pick a day of the week to plan our menu and shop for healthy foods and ingredients, and we keep that day open for such initiatives consistently, then we are on our way to becoming healthier. We can do the same when it comes to accepting the transitions that lead us closer to God.

In life, we move so fast that it can seem overwhelming to bring anything else into our daily lives. Praying for more time with our kids and our families can result in a desire to make it happen but no actual time to see it through to fruition. Vowing to give back to the community and getting more involved with ministries at church or activities at our kids’ schools can seem fulfilling and within our reach, but when we go to schedule our meetings and get involved, we find we can’t accommodate anymore giving or meeting in our schedules. In these areas—these frustrating, nothing more will fit, I am at the end of my rope, areas—we need to find our productive transitions. Sit back and reflect. Think to yourself, Where can I scale back and where do I need to give more? Do I need to pray more? Do I need give more thanks to God? Giving attention to how we might achieve this and sitting down to come up with our transition plans will make all the difference. The holidays have a different dynamic than the rest of the year. Let’s tap into that atmosphere for change and make some positive transitions during the holiday season.