Many of us have fond winter memories of our childhood. We decorated cookies, watched movies, played in the snow, had time off from school, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. As we get older, our vision of the Christmas season changes. For some, cookies and sweets turn attention towards calories. The classic movies we’ve watched 100 times lose their sparkle when we’re cleaning up the 5th spill of the night from our oh-so-precious 2yr old. We get very little time off and often have to travel. Christmas spirit is interrupted with the pressure to get everyone gifts they will love. It always costs more money than we expect and takes more time than we have.
The holiday season is a time in which we often have a lot on our plate. We accept numerous holiday party invitations and the shopping never seems to stop. By the time we are finished wrapping presents at 11pm on Christmas Eve, we’ve totally missed the point of it all. How is it already Christmas? Where did the time go? We are so busy with the presents, decorating, and preparing that we forget about the peace, love, and joy.
I encourage you to spend one day a week resting and observing the Sabbath.
Many of you are thinking “I thought this would be an uplifting Christmas devotional. Why would you remind me how busy and stressed I am then tell me that I’m supposed to take a day off? That’s just not going to work for me”. Let me ask you this… when you’re mentally worn out, physically exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed… does that work for you?
Are you spiritually, emotionally, and physically fulfilled? See, God called us all to a day of Sabbath; a day of rest.
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
Genesis 2:2 (NIV)
Six days you shall work, but on the 7th day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
Exodus 34:21 (NIV)
This gives us a biblical example that God calls us, in our most busy and time-demanding seasons, to rest. God himself took a Sabbath. It is much easier to add things to our list than it is to cross them off.
When we say yes to too many people, we create unsurmountable schedules. We eventually get overwhelmed and have to cut back on something. Maybe it’s health (exercise, sleep, eating lunch), work, house chores, or a cancelled coffee date with a friend. No matter how many hours in the day, we can’t do it all. We have to take time to rest. I encourage you to take a day a week to rest. Just like any other time your routine changes, it may not be easy the first time. Stick with it. See how it can change your life.
When is the last time that being obedient to God led you in the wrong direction?
Cuddle up with your spouse and watch a movie, read a good book, catch up on blog posts or Bible studies, or play a boardgame with your family. Allow your child-like Christmas spirit to come back! This doesn’t mean that God is asking us to lay in bed all day. Just do whatever “resting” means for you. For me, it’s a glass of wine (in the evening!) with either a good book and bubble bath or a movie in bed with my husband. Do whatever it is that recharges you. A day of rest simply means to not run all of your errands, live by a schedule, or have a list of things to get done.
God knew that we would need a reminder to practice self-care. We need to fill our own cups before we can fill anyone else’s. Sabbath is something I need to put into practice far more often than I do. Let’s try together and be a little less stressed this holiday season.
Feel free to comment and share your experience of Sabbath this week!