[Editor’s Note: Today’s article is an excerpt from this year’s Advent study, Fulfilled. We pray that as you reflect on Jesus’ role as our perfect Prophet come to reveal himself as the source of true rest, your heart would be stirred to worship him.]
I want this season to be a time of joy and rest with my family, but when my weekend is filled with a mile-long list of unfinished tasks, complicating my already busy week overflowing with to-dos, my heart tends to grumble: Why aren’t there more hours in a day? Why did my family have to be so distracting this weekend? How will this ever get done? Why does everything always depend on me?
Whenever I focus on the stress of this season, my heart is filled with words of complaint. My circumstances aren’t what I hoped. No one in my life meets my standards. I’m never good enough. When Christmas hymns remind me that the Savior’s birth is a “joy to the world” and “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,” my weary heart disagrees.
Rest for Our Souls
In all the extra work of the season, I forget that true rest is only found in the Savior I’m working so hard to celebrate. He offers us rest for our souls when physical rest is elusive.
Our world is full of words that will tell us we deserve rest and need to take care of ourselves first, but the insufficient comfort of this world does not ultimately satisfy the longings of our soul. So we must remember a better word—the Word with Us who preached such hopeful words as:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Matthew 6:31–32
“Your sins are forgiven.” Matthew 9:2b
“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.” Matthew 11:28–29
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Transformed as we Rest in Christ’s Finished Work
If you shift your focus to your all-powerful God, trust overwrites the lies of your heart, and grumbling is transformed into gratitude. Instead of doubting your abilities, you remember that God has equipped you with everything you need for life and godliness through knowing him (2 Pet. 1:3). Instead of being frustrated by your limitations, you can boast that God’s power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). When we remember that all the promises of God are yes in Jesus, our heart abounds in thankfulness for his generosity (2 Cor. 1:20). Instead of dwelling on our unfinished work, we can rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:30). In these truths you will find something better than relief from your lists; you will find rest for your soul now and hope for a future perfect rest in the presence of your Savior.
Further Reading: Psalm 62
Find the first Advent meditation, The Best Gift, here.
Find the second Advent meditation, Fulfilled by Following Our Servant King, here.