Prays Together: Finding Rest in a Restless Season

By David Welch

“All I want for Christmas” is back in the Billboard top 30; Michael Bublé is being searched on Google over 100 million times a month since August; all the turkeys and thanksgiving supplies are now 50% off; so, it must be the season of the “most wonderful time of the year!”

Unfortunately, Christmas time has become a burdening and stressful month of making sure to fit in dance practice, basketball tournaments, holiday parades, decorating the house, remembering what’s for dinner, making sure Aunt D doesn’t sit next to Uncle Jim at the Christmas party, shopping all the deals on Black Friday of Cyber Monday trying to find that one video game that’s all the rage while you have no clue what a “skin” or “emote” is, and all the while making sure we remember to leave the house properly dressed.

The hassle we all face causes the Christmas season to stop feeling like a celebration of Jesus’ birth and more like an exhausting load of gift after gift. While culturally expected, is the welter of activities really a gift to anyone? Jesus definitely shared a different perspective when He said “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28)

Let’s face it, even Christian lives get busy and burdened during Christmas and the last thing we feel is rest. Jesus promised that those who seek Him will find a rest that is refreshing, revitalizing, and relieving. When was the last time we’ve gone holiday shopping at Costco, Walmart, or Best Buy and felt refreshed? If you’re anything like most of America, you haven’t.

So how do we find the rest He promises?

1. Seek Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13). Seeking Him means creating an intimate relationship with God, even when we feel like we’re not worthy. Jesus is calling all those who are weary and burdened, those that feel like He’s far away, those that feel like He doesn’t care, and even those that feel as if His promises are empty hearted. Our hurried and anxious lives can never understand the rest of Christ without first seeking the deliverer of peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:27)

2. Learn from Him. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:15). To seek an answer is nothing without learning from that answer. Author Marc Schelske of www.marcalanschelske.com says that the starting point to learning from Jesus is to know His words. “His words matter. They contain his teaching that’s been passed on to us. Those words introduce us to his ‘tone of voice.’ They help us understand His heart. This isn’t just about familiarity, or even being able to cite verse and chapter. This is about having his words embedded in your heart.”

3. Trust Him. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jeremiah 29:11). These days, taking someone’s word for it comes with its own risks. What used to be a person’s word in truth is now just a person’s word right now. Jesus’ word has never let us down, only our growth of cynicism. We can only discover the peace and rest of Jesus when we see His gentle and humble at heart.

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