Harried, Hurried? | Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28
“One reason we are so harried and hurried is that we make yesterday and tomorrow our business, when all that legitimately concerns us is today. If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.” â€• Elisabeth Elliot
If you find yourself harried, hurried, and just too busy to do the will of God during this Christmas season and your focus has shifted from Christ to the wordly pursuit of the perfect gift, meal, or travel experience...refocus. If all thoughts of serving have fled under the crushing stress of unrealistic expectation and the highlighted ideal has robbed you of your joy...realign. Perfect holiday tableaus are erected months in advance in the hopes we will all be looking ahead willing to spend now for unattainable perfection in the future or looking to the past at less then ideal gatherings that missed the mark hoping for a second chance to recreate what failed. Blind yourself to these manufactured distractions...re entrench.
"...your only hope for joy, and your only hope for peace, and your only hope for comfort, your only hope for love, and your only hope for strength in this life is found in the cross of Jesus Christ" â€• David Platt
You cannot truly find your joy, peace, hope, love, strength, rest, or faith anywhere else but in the cross. Peter began his letter in 1 Peter 1:1-9 by addressing believers and reminding them they owe their salvation to God's mercy and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is there on that tree fashioned of wood and nails we find God's gift; a heart poured out. When weariness deflects your thoughts from the magnitude of the cross immerse yourself in the Word...drink it in and rediscover the hope and overflowing joy inexpressible found when you rest in the Lord.
"And what shall meet the deep unrest around thee,
But the calm peace of God that filled His Breast?
For still a living Voice calls to the weary,
From Him who said, “Come unto me and rest.”"
â€• Freda Hanburry Allen
The following article explores the ways Jesus offers us a place to store our fears and rest in Him...
Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon
For many, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas leave us grateful but gassed. In the name of holiday festivities, December means attending multiple Christmas parties, traveling to see family and friends, and standing in line to get the ever-elusive "perfect gift."
As much joy as Christmas brings, if we aren't careful, holiday cheer can sap our energy and steal our joy. It is a great irony that the season of light often feels heavy. What can we do to find rest in this annual merry-thon?
Five things you might do to cultivate spiritual rest:
1. Unplug. While there's a place for Christmas specials and live nativities, doing something smaller, with less pomp and circumstance, may be exactly what you need to cultivate rest. Such a change might give you the margin you need to be still and know that he is God.
2. Say no to something old. If your schedule includes multiple family meals, Christmas parties, and gift exchanges, find one (or more) to which you can say no. We are finite creatures, and it is good for us to draw boundaries.
3. Say yes to something new. Sing Christmas carols in a nursing home. Serve meals at a local mission. Take groceries to a needy family in your church. Christ's invitation to rest is not a call to complacency; it is a chance to work in his strength (Col. 1:29).
4. Feed on the Word. As much attention as we give to savory meats and holiday treats, we should give more attention to God's Word. This might mean reading Advent scriptures or picking up a book on Christ's birth. However it looks, spiritual rest always involves hearing the promises of the gospel.
5. Pray. With your family or with others, carve out time to praise God for the birth of Christ. Pray for the persecuted church and those who are suffering this Christmas. Pray for missionaries and for those who don't yet know Christ.
Whatever you do this month, put Christ at the center. And whether you finish the month rested or restless, take comfort that ultimately his life, not ours, secures our Sabbath rest. In this month's merry-thon, remember that Christ has come to be the good news of great joy for weary people.
Excerpted from David Schrock's article Finding Rest in the Merry-Thon – The Gospel Coalition Blog
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