Christmas time Rest and Rejuvenation
The countdown until Christmas is on! A pile of unwrapped presents is taunting you, you just got signed up for another “Secret Santa”, and the relatives planning on staying in your guest bedroom have just flown in. Sound familiar?
Last year, I joked with my friends that I took on a second full-time job as Santa during the month of December. It seems that expectations are at an all-time high during Christmas, both from others and self-imposed. The specialness of the Christmas season is what can make it so beautiful and significant, but also what can cause an equal amount of overwhelm. We’re baking, shopping, and spending family time, all while trying to keep up our regular rhythms. How then, in a season that seems saturated with an “all-hands-on-deck” mindset, can we pursue rest and rejuvenation?
Jesus, worn out from his journey, sat down at the well. (John 4:6 CSB)
The first step is allowing yourself to acknowledge your tiredness. Jesus set a wonderful example of prioritizing rest throughout His entire life on Earth. I love this verse in John because it simply and overtly highlights an important “call and response” example that we can follow. Jesus was worn out, so he responded by taking a break. Simple as that.
Throughout this Christmas season, set a time aside for “check-ins” with yourself and with the Lord. It can be as simple as turning down the radio on your trip to Target to pray and reflect on how you feel. If you have a trusted friend or spouse who knows you well, try partnering up with them to ask “check-in” questions throughout the holidays. It’s amazing the power that acknowledging the state of our hearts can have, rather than barely making it through each day with the desire to “just push through”.
God delights in being invited into the honest state of your heart. In conversation with Jesus, you don’t have to lie, put on a brave face, or “play it cool”. Jesus knows your thoughts and He knows your heart. There is a beautiful rest to be found simply in the act of entering into an honest conversation with your Creator.
Once you have taken a personal heart inventory, it’s time to start carving (turkey/ham pun totally intended) out some space to rest and rejuvenate. While it may seem like someone is needing something from you at every moment, I assure you that an investment into your own spiritual well-being will have an immense return in everything else that you do. Here are a few strategies to pursue rest and rejuvenation amidst the reindeer this season:
Jesus set the beautiful example of distancing himself from noise, distraction, and even good things (like His community) for a time to specifically find rest in the Lord. It’s also ok to not say yes to every invite and every commitment. Sometimes, to achieve rest during the season of Christmas, we have to specifically set aside time to get the rest that only time with the Lord can bring.
Hear me in this - I think there is a time and place for social media and for TV. I even think that some days it is fun and memorable to have movie marathons and there are moments when we truly just want to catch up on our favorite vlogger’s content. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with those things. It’s when we turn to those less “soul-nutrient-dense” sources for true rest and rejuvenation that we encounter the problem.
When contemplating how to use the time and space you have set aside for rest and rejuvenation this holiday season, I would challenge you to think about what practices can truly nourish your soul. I often think of it in terms of food. As an avid lover of dairy-free ice cream, I will be the first to say that it is a necessary and often daily part of my diet. But, it’s not the food item that I would go to after a tough workout to replenish my body. In the same way, for soul-level rejuvenation, seek out soul-level rest.
Through reliance on Jesus, we can delight in the wonders of Christmas time from a place of rest and rejuvenation rather than from a place of stress and expectation. Lean on the Lord - He is there for you in this season and always.
|Arianna Li lives with her husband in Nashville, TN. She currently works as a teacher in a homeschool co-op, has a strong passion for community building, and is regularly involved in her church. Arianna can also be found hosting friends for dinner, baking for loved ones, and going on neighborhood walks.|