Rest: an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
Christmas is full tilt.
From the time December 1st hits (and perhaps before), to the time Christmas trees are taken down (which could be well into January), life is in constant motion.
I know this is common knowledge because work parties are starting to happen in November, school concerts are starting to take place in the afternoons, and shopping hours are opening earlier and staying open later. It’s all an attempt to maximize hours and get it done.
Our hearts haven’t gotten the memo.
As we rush from place to place, our pulse quickens, our blood pressure rises, and our minds move at warp speed trying to remember everything associated with this time of year: gifts and dinners and events, oh my!
But what if our hearts could be calm while running the marathon?
See, that’s the thing about marathon runners. They figure out all the tricks to conserve their energy for the long haul.
They control their breathing.
They set a realistic pace.
The stick to their realistic pace.
They keep their eyes fixed on the purpose.
They are not influenced by those running on all sides.
And they focus their thoughts onto life-giving things.
I believe this is what Matthew 11:28-30 means:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Do we stop participating in Christmas? Not so much.
Do we center on our hearts on rest amidst? Absolutely!
So take the marathon approach this Christmas.
Control your breathing.
Set a realistic pace.
Stick to a realistic pace.
Keep your eyes fixed on the purpose.
Don’t be influenced by those running on all sides.
And focus your thoughts on life-giving things.
Is this not what it means to set your life to a restful pace?
Christmas idea: buy a box of your favorite tea and your favorite book and give it to someone you know who could use a few minutes to kick back and relax; someone perhaps going through a stressful time this Christmas.
Christmas prayer: Father, Your Word says that You cause the storm to be still so the waves of the sea are hushed. This is indeed my prayer today. Despite my busy schedule, may my heart be at ease. Despite the rush and the millions of things there are to do, calm my thoughts, guide my soul and set my heart to the pace of Your Holy Spirit. And as I center myself on You, give me a deep sense of rest for my life and this Christmas season. Amen.