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After the waiting, the seeking, the hoping, the receiving, the rejoicing, is a time to rest. No more striving, no more hoping, no more seeking, no more waiting. It is the time to simply rest.

We are, in a sense, in a long sabbath rest. We are in a time of resting even amidst the turmoil of our circumstances or the chaos that may erupt in the world. Our resting is not dependent upon temporary, physical circumstances, but eternal promises. We exist in a certain spiritual state of rest, whether we are aware of it or not.

God ensured that rest for us when he sent his son.  Our rest began then, and it continues today, and will continue until he comes again.

It does not mean that we will not struggle here on earth. It does mean that we can enjoy a sense of rest and peace even amidst the struggles.

So now that Jesus is come, we can rest.

But, what does it mean to rest?

I think it means to be content, be thankful, be at peace. It means surrender. It means casting our worries and cares upon Jesus. It means knowing who Jesus is and believing in his promises.

It may not be easy to rest at this time of year, when  the entire culture is focused on “buying” and “gifts” and the extraneous aspects of Christmas. If we were truly content we would be aware of what we truly do need and how much we can do without, and be thankful for what we have. But our culture does not comprehend this.

If ever there were a season to rest, well, this would be it. the Christmas season. We have the hope of the world, a Savior come to rescue us, so there is no need to stress, to worry… we can rest.

Jesus is here; therefore,  I can rest,  and you can rest.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my daughter’s rough beginnings in life. While she has her own stories and experiences to share from her life, I also have my own perspective, and things I have learned.

It is hard to rest when circumstances are challenging, isn’t it? But if it were not possible, Jesus would have not have said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28, NIV) He promises rest if we come to him.

After all these years,  I realized I have come to a specific place of rest when it came to her life situation. Reflecting on it, from this side  of the struggle, has been an unexpected emotional experience for me. I had no idea it would impact me as it has, to reflect after these years. While I do not suggest or believe that trials and struggles are over, seeing her start college is most definitely a milestone.

I shared that story because sometimes we just need to hear something that helps us to press on. I shared it because God is amazingly good and gracious and merciful and can do miracles and more than we can possibly fathom or imagine. Sometimes the miracle may be there in our future, but also many things in life do not turn out the we pray or hope they will. No matter how things may turn out, though, even if it is in ways we cannot understand, God is always there, he is always faithful, and he is always, always good. That is what I keep coming back to, even when things are a mess, difficult, seem insolvable, or are downright so stinkin’ bad you can’t imagine it getting any worse. No matter what happens, God is the same good God, and that is something to be thankful for, to keep living for, and the source of hope to keep pressing on.

Though it is easier said than done, we can cease the striving and the worrying, and start with the resting.

Resting sounds so… inviting. How refreshing it is to simply rest. Just as our bodies need that physical and emotional rest, our souls and spirit need that spiritual rest.

If our bodies do not get the rest we need, we will suffer for it. We may become lethargic, less productive, or even ill. Likewise, we also need that spiritual rest.

It felt a little risky to put myself out there like that, but life it too short not to share, and some things too amazing and important to keep quiet about. Don’t you agree?

It’s Christmas Day, and my prayer for you, dear reader, is that you experience the joy and rest of knowing Jesus.