Highlands Blog: More than Turkey, Dressing, and Cool Weather
by Mr. Patrick Brown
Highlands Dad & Human Resources Director
It’s warming up again here in South Florida, and I find myself missing the cool weather of a few weeks ago. Fall means something different to a lot of people in our country. The leaves changing and the cool breeze blowing, maybe even some snow around the corner.
Here we can tell by some parallel signs: Our cabinets full of candy. The stores quickly shifting from the dark landscape of spooky forests to a Christmas wonderland. Sale listings going up and talks of turkey and dressing. Fall means the holidays are coming, and we as South Florida Christians start to pray for a few days of cool weather and ready our bank accounts for presents. What else does this time of year mean for you and your family?
This culture is one that demands parents be on their A game when it comes to the holidays, but what does the Lord want from us? Let me start by easing your mind and mentioning Colossians 2:16-17: Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Do not let that odd family member tell you how you should be doing it this year! Jesus wants us to be unified in our celebrations and come together in love. We should enjoy this time centered around Christ, and not let the pressure of our culture rule our hearts.
My wife, Brittany, and I love fall, our family, and our friends. We have often traveled for the holidays, but lately we are trying to stay closer to home. No matter where we go or who we see, we try to remember that we can use these times to grow closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Traditions can help do this. We love to share what we’re thankful for around the Thanksgiving table, and then thank God for those things. We tell our children that the presents they receive under that Christmas tree are a reminder of the gifts laid at Jesus feet. The most important part of this season is Jesus, and we should be encouraged that all are welcome! And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last (Luke 13:29-30).
I thank God for what I have and look forward to more time in His will. I know I don’t deserve all the blessings I have been given. My wife and my daughters are the light of my life, but we have faced situations of doubt, sadness, and pain. This season is a time to reflect on what good came out of those past situations and to remember that the Lord is with us. I thank God for my family every day and remember I can love Him back by making those choices which please Him, by staying in His will, leading my family, and prayerfully considering our future. One of my favorite passages is Jeremiah 29:11-13: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Reach out to those who might not have what you have. This thought is something I have struggled with, being an introvert and a private person. It is easy to give spare change to the figure standing outside my window at the traffic light, but it’s difficult to stop my day and pray with that person, and even more so to take that person to a meal and invite them to church or our home. Jesus loves every human being on this earth and each is special with their own story.
The holidays should be about reaching people with His warmth and love. Jesus’ famous mandate is stated in John 13:34: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. I am thankful Highlands Christian Academy and Grace Church encourage us in this same way. The holidays are a time for us to reflect on these things and reach out to one another in love.
Mr. Patrick Brown met his wife Brittany when they were high school students at Highlands. Now they both work here, Brittany in Admissions and Patrick in Human Resources. Their oldest daughter continues the Brown tradition as a Highlands K5 student, and their one-year-old loves to visit her parents anytime possible during the school day! As Patrick shared, he loves spending time with his family and serving the Lord. If you’d like to chat with him, you can reach him at [email protected]