You may be thinking, based on the title of this post, that I’m referring to the number of hours of sleep you get each night or carefully selecting activities so your calendar doesn’t get over-crowded. These are great things of course, but that has little to do with the type of rest I am thinking about.
The rest I have been contemplating for several weeks now has to do with my internal spirit. The spirit underneath the work load that either leaves me stressed and strung out at the end of the day, or physically exhausted, yes, but satisfied that another day has been accomplished and by God’s grace we are all still functioning and all still love each other. That is rest.
We have probably all experienced either from our childhood or from our own mothering (and probably both), a moment when work and love and service was put into something to pull off a wonderful tradition, party, or other event, but that people’s feelings were trampled on, tempers flared, and impatience prevailed. I don’t want that.
The work load has little to do with it. I am tired. I will be tired. I may be up late at night ordering Christmas presents online, or baking cookies, or wrapping presents. I know I’ll be up late decorating two birthday cakes this month (yes, we clearly don’t plan these things very well 😉 ). My month is busy just like yours is. Fatigue is normal.
But I want to approach this season with a heart that is at rest. At rest with what needs to be done, but also at rest with everything that won’t get done. I want the inevitable “mistakes” to be taken in stride because my spirit, from the outset, is at peace.
At rest, so that when the cookies burn, I don’t snap at my kids for distracting me.
At rest, so that when the perfect present is not found, I don’t lash out in frustration at my limited resources.
At rest, so that when a child has an emotional meltdown at the wrong time and place, I will respond, not with frustration or embarrassment, but only love and grace.
At rest, so that when the hurrying about of the season nearly threatens to come between me and my family, I will choose the better thing.
At rest, so that when others choose differently than I do, celebrate more slowly or busier than I do, I will be confident in our choices.
At rest, so that no matter how busy and tired I am, I will not lose focus on the celebration of the coming of Christ.
At rest, because the holiday is already perfect, because Jesus has come. My cookies, presents, and schedule ultimately don’t matter at all.
I want to celebrate this season with all the joy of traditions and festivities that make this such a special time of year. I want to put love and thought into making it a meaningful and memorable holiday for my family. But never do I want my doing to take over a spirit of rest.
Will you join me in making this a restful season?