Our family loves Christmas. When our kids were younger, they would get laser-focused on all the gifts they'd get. I'd find myself often admonishing them with misguided, though well-intentioned, advice such as, "It's not about getting; it's about giving generously." But I often misapply that concept to my own spiritual life. So much of the Christian life seems focused on what I'm supposed to be doing, giving, or contributing. And during the holidays, there's so much to do: gifts to buy, food to make, parties to attend, presents to wrap, surprises to plan. At the end of it all, I just feel... tired.
As Christians, we know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, but it's easy to forget amidst all the doing that one of the things he's saved us from is meaningless busyness.
- This is what the Lord says:
- “Stand at the crossroads and look;
- ask for the ancient paths,
- ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
- and you will find rest for your souls.
- But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
- I appointed watchmen over you and said,
- ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
- But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
- (Jeremiah 6:16-17)
In this Old Testament prophecy, Jeremiah tells us that rest for our souls is possible, but we wouldn't take it. That's so different from what I impress on my kids. Give! Give! Give! Yet in Scripture, I see that my role is to simply receive. After all, God is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything (Acts 17:25). We were not created to serve, but to be loved.
We were not created to serve, but to be loved.
When we serve, it is an outflowing of our understanding of how loved we are. Serving was always meant to be come out of resting in that truth. But if we're not serving, the answer is not to try harder, or sign up for more things. Instead, start by taking a step back and ask God to show you how much he loves you. Receive his love.
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
This Christmas, if you find yourself feeling tired, like you're not doing enough, or being enough, pause and step back into the posture of receiving that you embodied at your salvation. Jesus is always the Giver. Live in the posture of receiving. Hold your hands out and enjoy his gift of rest, comfort, and love - just like a little child at Christmas.