Week 1 - Rest
Written by Lisa Biery
Is everyone humming that carol in your head? Good. Those words ring so much truth to the Christmas season, but if I were to be completely honest about how I tend to approach the holiday season, it’s not with the thought of kids jingle belling, it’s with some anxiety over the chaos that I let surround the holidays, putting the truest meaning of the most wonderful time of the year at the bottom of my list. Wherever you may find yourself this Christmas season, happy over the chaos of family get-togethers, lost in the struggles of a fallen world, or most likely a mix of both, my prayer for us all is to posture ourselves towards the gifts that Jesus brought with His birth, life, death, and resurrection. One of those gifts being rest.
So now I would like to insert the “laughing so hard I’m crying” emoji at the thought of rest during the most wonderful craziest time of the year. But if I throw down the idol of productivity in my life and exchange it for the promise of rest, I’m left with a beautiful and fascinating divine silence. The kind of silence that allows your heart and soul to catch up to what God has been doing. The kind of silence that the Holy Spirit uses to speak the loudest. I do love His irony. That divine silence and rest always drives me back to the intent of God’s law, which is to ensure life. That loving and serving people well is so much greater than any religion or ritual act, as Jesus teaches in Matthew 12:1-8.
Many of you are planners, many are dreamers, and if you are anything like me, while planning for rest, you get lost in the idea that maybe one day you will follow through with the plan you’ve dreamt up. If you are the one who sets time aside for rest or the one who lets it happen organically, don’t forget the reality that it is God who creates and sustains rest because He loves us. He promises us eternal rest in Hebrews 4 and He assures us that His word is alive, powerful and is sufficient to form restfulness in us.
This IS the most wonderful time of the year, celebrating the birth of King Jesus. His stories teach us, His death saves us. As His body lay in the tomb I can imagine the whispering words from Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” His resurrection brings new life and the promise that we will enter into His rest.
Can you even imagine creating a world? How cool would it be to snap your fingers and it’s nighttime or to say the words “let there be light” and boom, there is light. How AMAZING is our God! After He created the world, He created man and woman and animals! Think about when you create your lego worlds, or play dough sculptures, even sand castles at the beach. That takes time and creativity and it’s fun! I bet God had fun creating a world for us to live in and even more fun creating you and the people who love you.
As much as you don’t want to admit it, being creative and active also makes you tired. Did you know that after God created everything, He rested? I imagine that He curled up on a cloudy bed, covered up with a fuzzy blanket, and dreamt about all the plans He had for His new world. When you nap or sleep at night, God is working in you. He’s restoring your body and your mind so that you can approach a new day fresh with His love for you.
Every Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Jesus walked on the earth and talked with people, teaching them the way to live. He is a very special man; he is a teacher, a worker, a healer, and He loves all people. Often times, as Jesus and His friends were traveling around teaching, He would disappear and no one could find Him. Guess where He was…resting! Read or have someone read Mark 6:30-32 to you…He made His friends rest too! Jesus brought manywonderful gifts to us when He was born and rest was one of them.
Create and build a blanket tent in your family room. Work hard and be creative. Let your kids completely take over. Next, get in it, all of you. Then rest in the tent and company of the people God created you to walk through life with. Remind your people that some of the best moments in this life come when you slow down, put down the idol of productivity, and rest.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the birth of Jesus. Thank You for the gift of rest that He brought us through His life, death, and resurrection. I pray that we each value that gift and that we rest in You during this most precious time of the year.