Where Leaders Come to Think

Holiday Reflection


It was over 19 years ago that I found myself alone on Christmas Eve. The Advent season had all but passed, and I sat on my couch wondering what was missing. It was such an engrossing time. Alone. The silence of the noisy season was tugging my heart out. I was lonely.

My leadership journey had taken me to Fresno, California. At this point in my journey, I knew the work. My desire to be a champion meant that I would be compelled to drive hard in life and make my career my god.

I didn’t know I was wrong. I missed the dented street sign saying that, in the silence, there was more. I couldn’t see that the outer silence was simply a grace filled reflection of the spiritual emptiness I had been experiencing daily. I popped the cork of the celebratory bottle of red wine and snacked on a bag of Oreo cookies. Numbing the silence was all I could think to do.

That is where my Christmas story began. Reflecting today I can honestly say that I am so thankful for that memory. It makes me wonder what advice would I give myself 19 years later.

Dear Mark,

I know things may seem desperately lonely, but there is hope. You see I understand what you are feeling. But it is this exact feeling that will eventually pry you out of the office and into a life filled with faith. Seriously, in a few years – a new career, a wife and family and best of all Jesus. Yep, I said it, there is more to Christmas than a disruption in your workflow. Put the day-timer down dude and listen. Listen to that still small voice that rings ever clearer during the season of Advent, if you let it.

What you will find true is this. That this Christmas set the benchmark for all others. You now know the dreadful bite of lowliness and sting of depression. Yet, I am proof that there is hope. You will soon figure out what a blessing it is when God pursues you.

God is pursuing you.

Today all these years later there is a new clarity. This Christmas I am grounded in gratitude. Grateful for that season of Advent that showed me a true reflection of what was inside. Thankful now for my faith, family and friends. Grateful that I now know the difference between cheap wine and the finest of the banquet that only Jesus serves. Hang in there and for heaven’s sake don’t eat the whole bag of Oreos. You will regret it later.

Yours Truly,

The Future YOU.

Enjoy the Moment!

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  1. jenpeterson

    Mark, A great message. Sometimes, it takes the quiet of a Christmas alone to figure out what is really important.

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