Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28 NLT
The holidays are upon us, and many of us are revving up our activities. We may be among those who believe that our family and friends expect us to make this Christmas a success, keeping everyone happy by giving them the perfect gifts and filled with plenty of the traditional good foods. That may be putting more stress on an already stressful life.
Recently, a beautiful young friend expressed feeling stress and as a result was not sleeping well. As she looked to me for help, I suggested we ask Jesus. Clearly, she heard, “Rest.” She looked up at me, and asked, “But how do I rest? I have been working hard to try to rest.”
Suddenly, we both realized what she had just confessed. We began to laugh! Hearing it out loud, we realized that working hard to rest was not going to produce rest. Rest and work are clearly at odds with each other.
Jesus has given us the answer to the question, “How do I rest?” In Matthew 11:28 he tells us, “Come to me.” It is only in the presence of God, through Jesus, that we find true peace of mind and heart. In God’s presence, we are able to trust him and to let go and give him all the concerns and heaviness we’ve allowed to accumulate. We may even be able to discern that the anxiety and stress was coming from others’ expectations, not the Lord’s.
Are you starting to feel the stress and are allowing it to rob your peace and joy as Christmas approaches? Then hear Jesus saying to you, “Come to me, beloved. Come into my presence. Soak in my peace and love. Sit with me and release every burden you are carrying. Trust me to deal with them. Release the tension and stress. Breathe it out. Breathe in my love and peace. Stay with me in the awareness that I am always with you. I never leave you. So, my rest is always yours. Come receive it!”
Dear friend, be blessed as you choose rest this Christmas. Be blessed as you refuse to carry the weight of others’ expectations and choose only to please God. Develop the habit of daily coming into the Lord’s presence, and be blessed with being filled with his love and peace. May you overflow with the atmosphere of Heaven so that you change the environment around you. Be blessed to spread Jesus’ love and peace wherever you go! Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ December 2, 2021