Do you ever wish you could simply take a rest? Sit down with your feet up and let the pain in your lower back ease away, or maybe let the tension in your shoulders relax? How about seeing clearly after you’ve been leaning into the computer screen and seeing double? What about a noise free day, or technology free day, or a day when you weren’t expected to do for others no matter how tired you are, or if you have a migraine, or if your feet are killing you?
I’ve dropped hints to my husband for years that the best Christmas gift I could get is a week at a silent retreat somewhere near the ocean. I think it makes him suspicious, or at least a tad jealous – he knows he would be the one with everything on him while I was off retreating. And truthfully, he takes the lion’s share of what we do. Me with my wheelchair accidents and joint surgeries means I cannot take care of others as well as he can.
The Christmas season comes with a lot of expectations on our time and energy. Somehow I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure everybody has a good holiday. Each person should have something to open. The food should be extra delicious and presented beautifully. We need enough emphasis on spirituality to keep the season focused on the advent of our Lord, but enough generalized fun to include everybody, no matter what religious background they have. So we have puzzles, and smores, and caroling mixed with Broadway tunes and Chanukah songs.
I went shopping for the first time today when I realized time was running short to get gifts to where they need to go. Church activities switch into overdrive, and charities depend on end of year gifts. What if you were laid off and money is tight? The pressure can create the noise of expectation in your head. It does in mine.
Where is that rest? Where is that place of retreat? It doesn’t look like I’ll be arriving at my pseudo-monastic experience anytime soon. I HAVE to figure out how to rest while I am under pressure, and to have interior silence even while I wrangle squabbling relatives with challenging personalities. Jesus said to come to Him when we are weary and heavy-laden and He would give us rest. Let’s stop figuring out how to do that and simply begin with coming to Him, and thanking Him for the rest. Let the shoulders down. Breathe. Speak in love. Have peace in the middle of the chaos. Take Jesus up on His offer. That’s me preaching to me. And that’s worship in real life. Merry Christmas everyone.
For music and DVDs to help kids grow up to love the Lord, visit www.psalty.com to see the things we have from bedtime stories (The Sleepytime Helpers), to DVDs featuring Psalty with real kids, to our new CD, "Faith It! God Loves Me."