Here we are again. We have just begun the third week of Advent. We have just two weeks left before Christmas. If you are like most people you have your list….and your checking it twice. But this is not the naughty or nice list; no this is the list of all of the things you are trying to fit into your schedule prior to Christmas.
My last two weekly emails addressed the real meaning of the Advent season and the true source of our joy. Advent should be a time of spiritual preparation. This time of year should be a joyous time with family and friends. However as a result of our over commitments to holiday parties, the time needed to squeeze in all the shopping, the decorations, the cooking and baking, and all of those Christmas cards to write many people are finding this to be a stressful time of year. Sadly one psychologist said some of his clients lament that it isn’t Christmas any more it is now “Stressmas.”
Another sad reality is that with all of our commitments, God ends up being the one who gets crowded out during Advent. We are so busy that we don’t even leave proper time to rest. We end up worn out by the time Christmas arrives. Without a doubt most of us have hectic schedules during the Advent season, but if we are honest with ourselves our schedules are too hectic all year long.
Doctors are clear about the fact that rest is essential for our physical health. If we deny our bodies rest they are unable to recover and recharge as they should.
Athletes will also tell you how important rest is to their training schedule. Their muscles need time to repair themselves as they aremore likely to injure themselves without time off from training for rest.
Even the great philosopher Leonardo da Vinci saw the importance of rest. Here is a quote attributed to him: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer.”
I find it quite interesting that we are introduced to the importance of rest at the very beginning of the Bible. In Gen 2:2 we read this: “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.”
Each year at this time we sing carols about the baby Jesus resting:
Away in a manger no crib for a bedThe little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet headThe stars in the sky look down where layThe little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay
When so many people were pressing in on Jesus and the Apostles, and they did not even have time to eat Jesus said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31
So the Bible tells us that God Himself rested on the seventh day; and in addition, Jesus taught His disciples the importance of rest. God also set one day aside each week and commanded us to rest. For many of us, our Sunday’s have become just as hectic and full of activities as every other day. What does your Sunday schedule look like?
My friends, our non-stop pace is damaging our life in many ways. Our lack of rest is negatively impacting both our physical health and our spiritual health. Life requires balance. Rest is essential. God knew this and told us so, but have we listened? Many times we hear the expression: “if I just had more time” well I am purposely making this my shortest 4thdayletter ever as a Christmas gift to all of my readers. Take the extra 5 -10 minutes that you would have spent reading my normal length weekly email and just close your eyes and REST for those minutes.
Commit yourself to finding time to rest during this Advent and Christmas seasons. Re-commit yourself to making Sundays a day of rest as part of your New Year’s resolution. If you do your physical body will be better off and your spiritual heath will improve as well. Perhaps as a result you will be able to hear God’s voice in your life more clearly and follow His will for you more easily.
Now set the alarm on your smart phone or any other device, close your eyes and enjoy your 10 minutes of rest.
Heavenly Father please help me to avoid over committing myself this Advent Season, and help me to keep every Sunday a day of rest. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!