EXPERIENCE GOD’S REST THIS SEASON Written by Isiorono Igho-Orienru
“Tis the season to be jolly,” is here again!
It’s that time of the year again when we get sucked into a vortex of activity — most of it fun and festive but exhausting nonetheless, leaving our souls feeling empty.
Often, it’s in the midst of this hubbub of holiday cheer that we quietly wonder, “Is this all there is?”
The good news is that beyond the cookie platters, shopping lists, and decorating is the Son of God made man for us.
Glory to God!!!
God knows we’re prone to frantic activity. This is one of the reasons He built in a day of rest for us every six days — that we might pause our activities and recognize the goodness of our God, our own desperate need for Him, and His gift of stillness and rest.
In practicing rest, we acknowledge God’s trustworthiness such that even when we cease working, God continues to hold it all together just like Chandler Moore said;
‘God of my present, God of my future
You write my story, You hold it all together…
You are the Alpha, and You’re Omega
You’re in the middle, You hold it all together’.
As turbulent as 2020 has been, I invite you, just as Jesus invited His disciples, to come away with Him and get some rest, to slow down and rediscover the wonder and joy of the Christmas season in the midst of your favorite holiday traditions.
How can that be achieved?
- REMEMBER: We most times forget who God is and what He has done for us from one day to the next. I don’t know about you, but, I have to remind myself each year who Jesus is and why His birth is so miraculous — not because my mind doesn’t know but because my heart ceases to be awestruck. As the old saying goes, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. This is part of the reason the Israelites were instructed to remember God’s miraculous works on a regular basis: so that they and their children would not forget, but also so that God’s closeness and power would remain fresh in their minds.
As we continue in this season, it’s easy to get caught up in activities. So we must be intentional in remembering God’s goodness: both who He is and what He has done. A beautiful way to remember is to meditate on the names of Jesus, fully savoring the season of Christmas by recognizing the many ways He is near us even now.
Meditating on Jesus’ names leads us to admire the many dimensions of His character, each beautiful on its own, but when put together comprising a breathtaking picture of the Son of God made man to rescue us.
- Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, the Creator who possesses all glory and power and authority yet chose to enter our world as a little child in order to dwell with His beloved and restore relationship with us.
- Jesus is the Word of God, the full revelation and intelligent communication of God, and the most direct and personal message God could ever give us, available to all who seek Him.
- Jesus is the Holy One of God, brilliant in majesty and commanding in authority, perfectly without sin, whose holiness does not threaten us but gives us reason to hope because He alone clothes us in divine righteousness.
- SEEK HIS STILLNESS: Have you ever sensed the Holy Spirit prompting you to take a break from the holiday preparations and sit for a while in Jesus’ presence, only to brush it off and focus on the next task on your list? We often push ourselves at breakneck speeds, waking early and staying up late, squeezing every daylight hour for all its worth. Then we’re so exhausted by our hustle, we can hardly savor the beauty of the season.
Sometimes, this busyness is really just a guise to hide deeper hurts. We think to ourselves and say ‘If only I can keep myself busy, I won’t have to acknowledge the crippling wounds I carry’. We fear stillness, so we leave no task undone, breezing through to the next task on our list.
Yet the answer is not throwing our traditions out the window and becoming a Grinch, instead, we must incorporate moments of stillness into the busyness so we can work from a place of wholeness and rest. The truth is that God’s salvation comes to us when we repent and rest, and His strength when we’re quiet and trusting. Isaiah 30:15 [AMP] says; ‘For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said this; In returning [to Me] and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and confident trust is your strength’.
This Christmas season, dare to be still, even if just for two minutes each day. Bring your to-do list to the Lord and lay it at His feet. Savor the beauty of His presence as you reflect on His names and allow Him to heal your deep hurts. Declare His Lordship over your life, express your desperate need for Him, and allow yourself to be still and just bask in His presence.
- He is Immanuel — God with us. He sees. He knows. He hears. Let Him quiet you with His love.
- He is the healer — Present those hurts to Him, be still and watch how He heals you.
- TRUST HIS FAITHFULNESS: To trust means to rest, and to rest means to trust. Whether we realize it or not, we’re constantly evaluating the trustworthiness of the things and people around us. We do the same thing in our relationship with God, subtly negotiating just how much we’ll entrust to Him. Whether it’s our finances, broken relationships, hidden hurts, or future dreams, we evaluate God’s faithfulness in the past to determine whether or not we can trust Him in our present. But it’s in the midst of this holiday busyness that our trust or mistrust becomes most evident.
- We’ll stuff ourselves with cookies, pies, and holiday hams if we don’t trust Jesus to be the Bread of Life who satisfies our deepest desires.
- We’ll worry about our prodigal child if we don’t trust Jesus to be the Good Shepherd who brings lost sheep home.
- We’ll wallow in loneliness, feeling forgotten, if we don’t trust Jesus to be Immanuel, the God who dwells with us even when we feel alone.
- We’ll hustle to create the perfect Christmas if we don’t trust Jesus to be the Holy One of God who makes us perfect.
Each moment is a new opportunity to trust God’s faithfulness in a million little ways, and it all starts with learning to rest.
Imagine starting each morning with the simple practice of resting instead of rushing headlong into our busy days? Let us, as the psalmist does, instruct our souls to find rest in Him alone, to remember His works and His goodness, to express our desperate need for Him, to still our minds and hearts in His presence, and to declare our confidence in His trustworthiness (Psalms 62:5 NIV).
Find rest in Jesus today, because the One who spoke the world into existence and came as a helpless babe, that holy, blissful, silent night, can speak calm and peace into our own lives today.
And have a Merry Christmas!!!