“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28–30
“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 and do not be afraid.” ~John 14:27
I don’t know about the rest of you, but the week before Christmas, I am not feeling a lot of peace. In fact, peace is probably what I feel the least of. We are usually doing the last minute shopping, wrapping, cooking, events with friends and family, then driving all the way back from Fredericksburg, Texas, early Sunday morning to be back in time for Night in Bethlehem. In all this busyness, there tends to be little peace. I get wrapped up in everything but . . . Jesus. It’s funny how the birth of the Prince of Peace can cause us such fatigue and anxiety. It’s like we get so wrapped up in the festivity of the birth of Christ that we forget that the baby in the stable is the same one who told us to bring Him all our burdens, that He brings us peace, and to slow down and rest in him. I am sure His desire is not that we would overstress ourselves with earthly details and lose the focus on what really matters when celebrating His birth.
My challenge to all of you (and myself) is to find five to ten minutes each day where you can free your mind of the stress and enjoy some peace. Schedule it into your calendar or set a reminder on your phone, and hold it as more important than any other activity that day. It doesn’t have to be something formal; it can be whatever brings you peace (drinking a cup of coffee or tea on the porch, listening to music, reading a scripture or book, take a walk etc.). I would also challenge you to find at least thirty minutes to spend with your loved ones focusing on just being with each other and enjoying the peace of each other’s company.
Heavenly Father, as we prepare this last week of Advent to celebrate the birth of your son, we stand in awe of the fact that You would come to earth to meet us where we are and lead us to You in love. We forget in all of our humanness that you came to give us peace, not to be celebrated in a way that causes stress and exhaustion. Help us to remember to give you our burdens, to rest in you, and that without all the parties, the gifts, and decorations, the Christ child was still born so long ago in Bethlehem, and we will still celebrate that fact. It is in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.