Oh, Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Lights, trees, music, presents, gatherings – so much joy! At least, you’d think so. But sometimes the busyness of Christmas can steal your joy and your focus.
If I’m being honest, sometimes Christmas can be overwhelming. Please tell me I’m not alone. All the things that are added to the calendar in December on top of all the things that are on the calendar every month, every week, every day of the rest of the year. It’s a bit much.
I know not every mother is as exhausted and weary as I feel I am. Having two autistic children and a disability myself is tricky at the best of times. I can’t even tell you what a struggle it is to make supper each night when I’m tired and in pain – but my husband is a very hard working man. As much as I’d love to use my disability as an excuse, in my heart of hearts I know that means I’m the one who should be the chief cook and bottle washer. So I suck it up and cook, and the loving and kind man that my husbans is helps me every time I feel I’m not going to make it. And then December arrives…
The parties pile up, the kids come home with invitations to Christmas events, the calendar fills up. My to do list grows – the decorating, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the crafting, the Hallmark Christmas movie watching. And then there’s the service projects, the things I look forward to doing every season because I love Jesus and want to share His love with others. It all adds up, and with it all the joy robbing stress that comes with it.
In the midst of the busy, in the midst of the merry, I forget to rest. And not just physical rest, because my weary body demands that daily. Actual rest – soul refreshing rest. If there’s one thing I know it’s that sleep isn’t the only kind of rest a person needs. There are several types of rest necessary, but the most important is to rest in Jesus.
I know that what steals my Christmas joy also steals my Christmas focus – the real, life giving, soul reviving reason there’s a Christmas in the first place. Sometimes I need that little reminder. And I realize I need to shift my focus. Back to the stable, back to the cross, back to the resurrection.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
When I look to the stable, my soul finds rest in His birth. In the small details, in the big details, in the manger. The manger was where the animals would go to eat. Probably dirty, probably smelly. And there the King of the whole world first layed his head, though He was worthy of so much more. It’s no coincidence that it was intended to be a feeding place. Because my soul finds rest and sustenance in Jesus, the Bread of Life, who promises that all who “eat” from this bread will have eternal life (John 6:51). Which points us to the cross.
When I look at the cross, my soul finds rest in His death. In the overwhelming love He shows in this sacrifice at Calvary. The translation of Calvary is “place of the skull,” and both the cross and the skull are common symbols of death. Jesus knew the reason He was born in Bethlehem (meaning “the house of bread”) was to die so that we could be forgiven in the shedding of His blood. The Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread to give us eternal life. Which points us to the resurrection.
When I look to the resurrection, my soul finds rest in knowing there is eternity with Jesus. His resurrection was the first of many, His resurrected body a glimpse of what is to come for us in eternity (1 Corinthians 15:20). Free of pain, free of sin, perfect and whole. This is especially encouraging to those of us whose bodies are weary, worn and far from perfect.
There are lots of ways to find physical rest, and many tips and tricks to get the lists done, attend the parties, and do all the things. But tips and tricks simply aren’t enough, and I always feel like there’s something missing. Because there is.
It isn’t until I allow my focus to be shifted to the true meaning of Christmas, that my joy returns and my heart overflows with happiness. Out of the overflow, I’m excited to give, serve, and spread love during the holiday season.
Find rest in Him this Christmas. ❤️