I remember the anticipation of what Santa left under the tree. My family was not by any means wealthy, but somehow Santa always left me what felt like 100 presents under the tree. Being an only child probably contributed to that.
It wasn't until I matured as a Christian that I fully embraced the phrase "Jesus is the Reason for the Season". Being a mom I see things in a whole new perspective. I get to watch my children revel in the "magic" of Christmas and all the mystery it holds. We took a walk last night and looked at all of our neighbors' Christmas lights and I relished in my oldest's excitement and enthusiasm.
He understands that it is Jesus' birthday. I wonder though, why are we giving each other gifts instead of a gift to Him? After all, it is His birthday. How do we keep our perspective focused on Christ and encourage our children to do the same thing? This is a question I hope to ask myself not just during the holidays but throughout the year as well.
I mentioned that Santa was very generous to me as a child. As a result I have the tendency to want to buy my children everything under the sun. Thankfully, God has given me a husband who has helped me scale back on that; but that desire to "spoil" them is still there. This year I am looking for ways to create memories for my children that don't focus on what is under the tree.
This season I was able to get a "head start" on my Christmas celebration. I normally forget to pull out my Christmas CD's and movies until December 26th. The CD's are out, the movies are ready to be watched and my oldest and I have already began making Christmas crafts. Last year we sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and made Him a birthday cake. I plan on doing the same this year. I love the element of tradition and ritual (you would think I was Catholic) but there is comfort found in it.
As I have been reading through the book of Hebrews, I have been learning about two types of rest that God describes. His eternal rest, which can only be found through knowing Christ, and His Sabbath rest. Most of us know that God rested on the 7th day of creation. He desires for us to rest in Him, to honor when He rested (even though he didn't "need" to rest). Sunday has been set apart as a day of rest for Christianity, though more through culture then God's command. I look around our culture and see more activity on Sundays than other days of the week. Some of us spend all day at church, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but are we resting?
I'm not talking about taking a nap here, or a vacation. Though, most days I covet them! This Christmas season I want to focus on the Sabbath rest He commanded us to have and perform it purposefully. Many of us go through this season and work frantically to check off our to do lists and then we blink and Christmas is over.
My prayer and desire for my heart is to honor God each day with a mini "Sabbath" rest. Reading the Christmas story a little each day and reflecting upon the events that took place for our Savior to be born. Sitting with no distraction, praising and thanking Him for His hand that guided Mary and Joseph during a scary time full of uncertainty. Ignore the laundry, the dusting that needs to be done, and the to do list for just a few minutes and dedicating a small portion of each day to rest in God.
It is more restorative then idly watching TV, reading a book, playing with my Android, or messing around on the computer (guilty am I!). I think of this as a mindless rest.....which really is no rest at all. The luxuries of this world can become such a distraction, a time waster.
Throughout the hardest parts of my postpartum OCD experience, the concept of rest was a joke. Sleep was merely required by my exhausted body and mind. I was trudging through the sludge with no end in sight. I couldn't shut my mind up for anything (and I wanted it to be so badly) and at times I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was stuck in the middle of a tornado with no escape.
If you are there right now, due to a postpartum illness or just as a season of life, I ache for you. I understand the fear and uncertainty. Seek His rest, ask Him to help you find peace in His Sabbath rest. Rest in His word and in His presence. Purposefully practicing resting in Him will bring restoration, rejuvenation, and can only help your recovery experience.
P.S. It only took me 4 days to complete this post...
Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.