Syncopation: you either love it or you hate it.
In musical terms, syncopation is a break in the established time signature or rhythm of the song. I remember playing a jazzy blues tune that I liked for a friend in college. Three-quarters into the tune, the music broke rhythm and a couple of seconds of syncopation ensued. My friend said, “I really like the song except for the part toward the end.” He was referring to the syncopation. He then said: “It felt like a ‘hic-up.’”
A few years ago my spiritual director introduced me to what he calls “holiday syncopation.” Holiday syncopation is that time when your normal, everyday routine is broken in some way. Often your routine is broken by traveling—either through your own traveling or by hosting traveling guests.
I lamented to my spiritual director that holiday traveling always took a toll on my spiritual regimen. I said something like this: “I just don’t pray as much or read my Bible as often when I’m traveling. Then I come home and am so frustrated at my lack of discipline.” My director helped me to put it all in perspective by encouraging me to embrace the holiday syncopation as a spiritually formative moment.
Now, for each of us this will look different. For me, it looks something like this when I travel for the holiday:
What do you do with holiday syncopation? Is it something that drains you, does it challenge you, or are you indifferent to it?
What are the traditions or other established holiday rhythms through which you could cultivate an intentional awareness of Christ’s presence in the syncopation?
Adam L. Feldman, D.Min., is the founding pastor of Metanoia Church in Ellicott City, Maryland, a church planter assessor and coach, and a writer. He is the author of Journaling: Catalyzing Spiritual Growth Through Reflection. He currently serves Metanoia as Pastor of Spiritual Formation and Preaching. Connect with Adam through his blog (www.adamlfeldman.com), or via social media: Twitter @adamlfeldman, Google+, Facebook.