Thou Shalt have Down Time this Holiday Season
As a kid, December was magical. Watching the Christmas tree being put up was one of my favourite activities. The snow covered Christmas lights, the anticipation on Christmas Eve and trying to fall asleep as fast as I could were all part of the fun. Fast forward to adulthood and, as much as I like Christmas, it’s as if everything comes to a busy standstill
Churches all over the world are preparing Christmas carols and special services. Volunteers are running around like headless chickens – organizing, practicing, sorting…and this is where…if I may interject…I’ll mention one of the Ten Commandments “Remember the Sabbath day.”
Yup, that’s right – If you aren’t finding time to rest this holiday season, you are breaking one of God’s laws. Now before you get all hot and bothered, I’m not talking about normal busy patches. I’m talking about Christmas being an out-of-control extension of our already too busy lives. It’s such a small compromise right? But it’s those little foxes that spoil the vine (see Song of Solomon 2:15). God’s command to remember the Sabbath is in the same list as ‘do not murder’. Neither is just a suggestion.
So what happens when we ignore such an easily ignored commandment and what are the benefits of being obedient?
It’s all about trust –
When we don’t take time to rest we, at best, stumble into pride and, at worst, create an idol. What I mean is this: If we aren’t being obedient to God we move into pride by saying (by your actions) we know better. And it’s not long before we put our schedule above God, and that means we’ve just created an idol. Why not take the time to stop, rest and wait on God. Remind yourself, and God, that He is in control. If you discover pride or an idol, it’s a perfect opportunity to repent and set things right.
God’s got better ideas than you –
I know right? He did create the universe after all, and yet we get too busy to hear what He has to say. While there is nothing wrong with putting on something special at church in order to reach out to the community, sometimes we get so busy with our own ideas we don’t take time to even ask God what He wants to do. He may want to do something completely different with our time, and I don’t know about you, but I want to do what He’s doing. Like Jesus said “I only do what I see the father doing”. If you haven’t already, while you are taking time doing number one on this list, listen to your Father’s heart to see what he says, and don’t be afraid to change your plans if He does!
Burdens we aren’t meant to carry –
Who doesn’t feel stressed at Christmas? Maybe lonely too? The Bible tells us to give all our cares to Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). It’s time to be honest with yourself. Are you carrying more than you should? This is related to what was mentioned first about ‘trust’. If we aren’t trusting God with our time it will be hard to give him our burdens. Perhaps you feel you don’t deserve it. Good, none of us do, that’s why God loves to do it, because you’re his kid and if you deserved it, he wouldn’t be able to show you how much he loves you. So take a few minutes to assess yourself and if necessary cast your cares on Him.
You are made in His image –
I don’t know about you, but one of my missions in life is to become more like God. Well, on the seventh day, God rested. Did he have to rest? Of course not, He is God after all, but He created us to be like Him. Thankfully, God doesn’t just give us a bunch of things to do, He is our example. Take a look at the ‘rest’ aspect of your life and commit to being more like him this Christmas.
Setting a bad example –
I’m gonna give it to you straight: When we don’t do as He does, we don’t set the example for the world. It is common in the world for people to burn out. In church, those statistics are astronomical. What does that say to those who are lost? We want to show that Christ has transformed us. We want to show them the love and peace that overflow when we give ourselves fully to Jesus. Does your time reflect the example of what God has for others to see?
It’s all about the love –
Psalm 127:2 says it all “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for He grants sleep to those he loves.” And by ‘those’ he means you. If you aren’t finding rest this holiday season, perhaps you need to take a moment and step into His love. We can get caught up trying to earn things from God, but the bottom line is, we are his kids and he loves us…big time. If you aren’t feeling very loved by God, perhaps it’s time to rest in Him and allow Him to fill you up so you are able to give it back out.
Have a look at the words of David while fleeing his son Absalom: Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” Our opportunity to put our trust back into God is now – don’t put it off one busy minute later. It doesn’t matter how busy you are. David was fleeing his enemy and God gave him rest. God says over and over again that he requires obedience over sacrifice. So if you find yourself sacrificing for your schedule instead of being obedient to God – it’s not too late to make a change. Stop everything and take a moment to give your time back to God.