Christmas seems like an over-the-top extroverted event, doesn’t it? Holiday parties abound. Malls are teeming with people talking, shopping and getting stuff done. And Santa, the poster child for a holly jolly celebration, exhibits unlimited energy as he travels the globe in just a single night. Extroversion at its finest.
As I anticipated wrapping up this personality series with the weaknesses of the Planner, I got depressed. Writing about the negatives of a negative temperament can depress even an optimistic Director like me.
The Planner, a highly sensitive individual, is the most moody and prone to depression. Think Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, who wrote the book of Lamentations. Sad, right? When living out of their weaknesses, the Planner can turn negative, pessimistic and socially insecure. So who wants to marinate in that? Not me. In fact, as I have been reading more about living an abundant life, fulfillment is more about building your strengths than fixing your weaknesses. (If you are interested in the topic, read GO, Put Your Strengths to Work by Marcus Buckingham.)
So instead of sending us all to depths of despair, I thought I’d focus this blog on Christmas, a much more cheerful topic, but with a nod to the Planner and also the Spectator, the two introverted temperaments. Because even though the world displays Christmas as a big, bright, blinking holiday, I think the advent season is really a quiet, soft, and slow holiday that celebrates the beauty of introversion.
(Can I still use the word album? Is that too 1970s? At least I didn’t call it an 8-track. If you don’t know what that is, ask your mom, she’s probably as old as me.)
If you can, take three minutes and listen to it here. You won’t regret it.
God could have made His grand entrance into the world like an extreme extrovert—as the center of attention with the strength of a tidal wave or the power of forest fire, she says
He came like a winter snow
quiet, soft, and slow
falling from the sky
in the night
to the earth below
That humbles me.
Our God, creator of the entire universe, omniscient and omnipotent, came to us as a fragile baby in a remote town to poor and unknown parents.
The Savior of our world and our souls came in the most introverted way.
His arrival was “still, small and hidden.”
The emotional needs of a Planner are sensitivity, space and silence, the same disciplines that we all need to cultivate in order to enjoy the introverted style of Christmas. If you are an extrovert, this will be harder for you, but still necessary and worthwhile in order to appreciate the depth of the season.
To have a Very Introverted Christmas follow these three guidelines:
- Be Silent. Everyday, or every other day, set aside five minutes (set an alarm on your phone) to be silent. Just five minutes. Don’t play music. Don’t pray. Don’t read your Bible. (Before you think about emailing me about these recommendations, I’m not suggesting you eliminate prayer or study altogether, just for these five minutes.) Meditate on the quiet, hidden nature of the first Christmas.
- Create Space. Dedicate a place in your home where you can be alone such as a special chair, your bed, or even your closet. If you create a space, a sanctuary, where you can meet with God, you are more likely to make it happen, especially in the swirl of Christmas.
- Get Sensitive. Read the Christmas story found in Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 2:1-20 several times in the next few weeks and make it the focus of your quiet times. Ask God to give you an awareness of the humble nature of Jesus’ birth. Let Him take you deeper into the meaning of Immanuel, God with us.
If you like Christmas music, and want to enjoy Christmas like an introvert, download Winter Snow and listen to it all season long–in your car, in the kitchen, and in your room.
And have yourself a very Merry Christmas!