Our city has become manic, traffic is crazy, people are grumpy and the malls are a cacophony of noise.  Tinny carols blare from every speaker and people look visibly stressed.  There’s a collective groan rising…!  In offices across the world worker bees are scuttling to get the most important chores ticked off an ever-increasing to-do list before the BIG DAYS, while mothers are trying very hard to squeeze in the last coffee date, between shopping for gifts and planning elaborate Christmas dinners, because school will be out soon and we all knows what that means…

Over those cups of coffee and around water coolers conversations probably go mostly like this:  “Last year I vowed never again.  Not buying into the hype!  Not spending money I don’t have!  Not accepting the invitation that will lead to six months of counselling, come the new year! But…” 

So we hang in there, counting days till we can rest, put our feet up, eat and drink and be merry.  Sadly, it’s no secret that for many the anticipated rest doesn’t come.  What humanity longs for more than anything, seems more elusive than ever.  Christmas time is joyous for too few, many more struggling with addictions and relational issues, financial lack, grave worries and physical illness and disease.  Far too many will experience more family violence and drunkenness during this time and loneliness, isolation and despair is amplified, leading to a worldwide increase in suicide.

Yet, we have an incredible promise that Rest is freely accessible to us.  In Hebrews 4 we read:  Now God has offered to us the same promise of entering into his realm of resting in confident faith. So we must be extremely careful to ensure that we all embrace the fullness of that promise and not fail to experience it. For we have heard the good news of deliverance just as they did, yet they didn’t join their faith with the Word. Instead, what they heard didn’t affect them deeply, for they doubted. For those of us who believe, faith activates the promise and we experience the realm of confident rest! (V1 – 4a TPT)

Let’s continue from verse 9   So we conclude that there is still a full and complete “rest” waiting for believers to experience. 10 As we enter into God’s faith-rest life we cease from our own works, just as God celebrates his finished works and rests in them. 11 So then we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life, so that no one falls short by following the same pattern of doubt and unbelief. (V9 – 11 TPT)

From this passage I conclude that there is a complete rest promised to us, that we are able to cease from our own works, as God rested from His, if we believe.  The Greek word used in Hebrews 4 is katapausis, which means a putting to rest, as in the calming of the winds or to find a resting place.  The resting place humanity’s so desperately seeking is not a geographical area, the latest and greatest resort,the mountain retreat, the adventure parks or the spectacular beaches promised in glossy brochures.  Our resting place is a Person…the Son of Man…the Son of God.

 So then, we must cling in faith to all we know to be true. For we have a magnificent King-Priest, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who rose into the heavenly realm for us, and now sympathizes with us in our frailty 15 He understands humanity,for as a Man, our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are, and conquered sin.  16 So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.(V14 -16 TPT)

Whether you are spending Christmas in the traditional way, or not, may you find Rest, in all His fullness.  May your greatest gift be mercy’s kiss and grace beyond what you expect.  May your busyness and striving cease as you reflect on Who He is and why He came.  May the storms that surround you be silenced at the sound of His voice and may He truly become your resting place, His table the place for your Christmas feast. On behalf of everyone at Ignite, have a very blessed, joyous and holy Christmas.

I will never forget the moment I met You
The moment You called my name
Pulled me out of the darkness, gave me a promise
To never thirst again

I want all that You offer
Your living water
Drink from the endless well
I will sit at Your table forever grateful
Forever where You dwell

From Fountains, Bethel Music