“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
My life, particularly during the Christmas season, often feels scattered, frenzied, and harried. If that sounds like your life too, take a moment to ponder these words of Jesus, found in Matthew’s gospel.
Jesus invites us to rest.
His invitation draws us. We are so tired. Yet at the same time, we resist this rest. There is so much to do. Our society says rest comes simply with inactivity. So, we put up our feet and watch a movie. We take a luxury vacation to escape the real world for a while. Or, when overwhelmed, we do nothing and allow external forces to push us from one situation to the next. Yet none of these things brings us real rest.
The rest Jesus offers requires action. He instructs us:
- Take My yoke upon you.
- Learn from Me.
Jesus tells us to bind ourselves to Him. Like the ancient wooden frame that joined two oxen, Jesus asks us to make His way the framework for our lives. Following God’s commands provides the direction we need and frees us from the bondage of sin. Instead of frantically seeking approval from people, we rest in the knowledge that God loves and accepts us. Worry and fear fade away as we trust God to provide and release control to Him.
Jesus also calls us to learn from Him. His gentle care for us teaches us patience and mercy. His humility and selflessness show us how to unselfishly serve others. Real rest comes when we put our lives in God’s hands and learn from Jesus.
God, I’m floundering. Life is pulling me in too many directions. I want to follow your ways and find real rest. Amen.
This Christmas, give up the need to impress. Forego perfect decorations and extravagant food. Step into the rest that God is offering you, even if it means doing far less.
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