In two days we’ll celebrate Christmas. Whether you’re gathering with family or celebrating with your immediate household, the fifth part of braving the holidays is essential to building and maintaining trust. 

The “I” in braving stands for integrity.

Integrity is all about doing what you say you will do. But, it’s also not as simple as doing what you said you will do. When it comes to building and maintaining trust, it’s also about choosing courage over comfort.

Courage Over Comfort

Sometimes the holidays place us in situations that require us to act in courage.

This year has given you more than your fair share of opportunities to choose courage over comfort. Maybe you had to tell that family member you love dearly you won’t be coming over for Christmas Eve as you normally do. Or, perhaps you had to share that you’re sticking close to home because you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and don’t want to expose a family member or anyone else you encounter to the virus.

But there’s one group of people I want to celebrate this season that are embodying courage over comfort. You might think I’m speaking of our front line workers, medical professionals, or teachers (at all levels). There’s no doubt, these individuals know, live and lead with courage over comfort every day.

But, there’s another group, that quietly and quickly adapted everything they know and do throughout this pandemic. This week, they usually lead large groups of people to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Who am I referring to? Pastors!

Pastors Modeling Courage Over Comfort

The pastors I serve alongside continue to demonstrate courage. Day after day leading up to Christmas, I read posts, watched videos, and heard announcements that Christmas Eve worship was going to be very different this year.

For some, that means a drive-in worship service. For others, it means a virtual service. And for still others, it meant going to great lengths to record, produce, and edit a video worship celebration alongside Christmas Eve worship bags being prepared for families to worship at home.

I can tell you, none of us were trained as video producers or “on-air” talent. And, I can also tell you, while always exhausted on Christmas Day when serving in a local church, Christmas Eve worship services are some of the holiest times in the church. No pastor wants to say to their leadership or congregation, “there will not be an in-person, in the sanctuary, Christmas Eve worship service.” 

And you did it anyway. You continue to lead with courage over comfort.

And, while you’re also sharing the disappointment of one more thing that’s different this year, your love for all of God’s children is empowering you to lead with courage.

As silly as it may sound to some, as frustrated as others might be because of your decision, it’s one of the most courageous acts I’ve witnessed this Advent season. It is not comfortable and you continue making the hard, loving choices anyway. 

Thank you for leading with integrity. Thank you for doing what’s right, over what’s fun, fast, or easy. And most of all, thank you for practicing your values.

The miracle of Christmas is that in Jesus, love takes on human flesh and moves into the neighborhood. Thank you for embodying that same love this Christmas.

Three Questions

Perhaps these three questions are all you need to continue braving the holidays. As you seek to build and maintain trust with the people you love and lead, ask yourself these three questions: Did I…

  • …Choose courage over comfort?
  • …Choose what’s right over what’s fun, fast, and easy? 
  • …Practice my values?

When you can say yes to each one of those questions, you’re not only braving the holidays, you’re building and maintaining trust.

Wishing you a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas!

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