How to Find Rest this Christmas
Christmas is right around the corner. But, of course, you know that. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Harried? Rushed? I'm right there with you. Have you had any of these types of conversations with your family lately?...
"Where is everyone going this year? Are we getting together with my side? your side? Maybe we can do Christmas Eve with the cousins and Christmas split between my parents and your parents. What? Your mom always does Christmas Eve? We can't keep the kids out that late! Can we? What about great Aunt Betty? She can't get out easily. Should we bring the party to her? Right, her apartment isn't big enough. And that's way too stressful for her. Someone will have to go pick her up. I can't do Christmas without Aunt Betty!"
"Oh, honey, what about a Christmas card?! We should have taken a picture at Thanksgiving when we looked half-way decent. People will never get it in time now. That's ok? What do you mean, that's ok?! You know, one year we did a New Year's card because we couldn't get it done in time. At least we sent one....plus we had a new baby on the 16th. But, by the way, we do this EVERY year, wait until last minute...
How can I deal with a Christmas menu? I can barely get food on the table each night.
"Who's making what? How can I deal with a Christmas menu? I can barely get food on the table each night. Shop ahead? Are you kidding me?! The kids eat it faster than I can put it away. A jello mold? She wants me to make a jello mold? I've never made a jello mold in my life! What would I mold it in? Oh, how about that cute sand pail that looks like a castle the kids have in the garage? What?! I'm serious!"
"Oh my goodness! I totally forgot about the Christmas card! Honey, we need to get that picture taken! Maybe one of the kids can help us. They're good with all that technology. Maybe we have a good one from this summer....hmm...ugh, not one clean face. What did these kids live on, chocolate ice cream, everyday?! Hint: get your older kids to deal with the photo taking and card making. They may not be quite old enough, but believe me they can figure it out!
"Shopping, shopping, shopping....I'm doing it all online. I don't care...I do not care...I'm not driving anywhere else!"
"Time to get our Christmas tree! Yes dear, I know Jimmy's family gets theirs right after Thanksgiving dinner but...what? They got it right BEFORE Thanksgiving dinner? Well, it's probably dead by now. Oh nothing....your tummy hurts? You'll be fine. Let me see...you don't have a fever. You just need something to eat, you're probably hungry again. Here, eat this in the car. If we don't go now, we'll end up going on Christmas Eve again. Yes honey, I know that's when the best deals are, but we're all ready to go now. Let's go everyone...what, you're going to be sick, right here?? Wait, do we have a bag, get a bag, get it!! Ohh!! Oh no!! Ok, out of the car. Hurry, hurry. Let him by you! The rest of you are fine! Here, over here to the grass. Oh, you're all done? Ok, good. Well, we didn't get far...let's turn around...aww, come on...we can't go now...you want to go? You feel ok? You're sure? Ugh, all right, roll down all the windows. Yes, this really did happen to us. None of the kids wanted to go back home. So, we drove around with the windows down the whole time, the older kids covering their noses with their shirts. But they wouldn't quit.
"This place is a disaster! It looks like a bomb went off! No, that would not be cool."
"Ugh! The picture! You know what, let's just take one now. By the tree, come on...I know you're weak, just lean on your brother. He's fine! He won't infect you! Smile everyone! Come on, I said “smile” not grimace!"
"This place is a disaster! It looks like a bomb went off! No, that would not be cool. You guys need to pick up all this stuff. And you think you're going to get more? What am I sticking to on this floor? Can anyone put things back in the fridge when they're done? I can't have people over here...Kids! Get to bed, right now! I don't care what time it is! I've had it! Go, go go! I'm exhausted! Maybe I'll just go to bed! I...just...need...a...little...rest."
What does rest look like for you? Maybe lying on a warm beach listening to the waves crash...or lying in a cool hammock in the trees...or curled up under a blanket near a fireplace...or relaxing in a chair petting your favorite critter....or taking a walk, or just, literally, sleeping...ahhh, doesn't that feel better now?
Resting is great, isn't it? We may not think we have time. Resting will set us back. And when we try, we just think of all the things that aren't getting done. But it's amazingly refreshing and rejuvenating and energizing. When homeschool is getting crazy, and everyone is crabby, tired or burnt out, we take a step back and stop for the day. Or even take the rest of the week off. When we come back to things, we can see it with a fresh mind and attitude. We make more progress than if we trudged through miserably.
Jesus rested. So should we.
God wants us to rest. He tells us in His word, about the Sabbath. God rested on the 7th day, and even Jesus went away and rested and talked to His Heavenly Father. If they need to do it, so do we!
So how do we rest? Jesus said we can come to Him and find that rest. He said in Matthew 11:28-30:
“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.”
His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Our yoke and our burdens we put on ourselves? Not so much. See where He says He will give us rest? And we will find rest in Him? Sounds simple, right? I was wondering where my rest was for a long time. Then it hit me...it's the first three words that make the difference..."Come to me."
God wants to spend time with us! We need to rest in Him. If we give our time, energy and resources to God, He'll do amazing things with it. Like the loaves and fishes...we just bring what we have and He does all the work. We can go crazy trying to do ALL THESE THINGS on our own. And drive the rest of our family crazy too. Bring what you have, to Him. That is the very reason that Jesus came for us, the very reason we even have a Christmas to celebrate.
In 2 Corinthians 3:17 it says, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” When the Spirit lives in us, and we REST in Him, we have that freedom. We have freedom from stress, anxiety, worry, hopelessness. At Christmas, and always.