It’s that time of year where we’re all making lists of things to get ready for Christmas, what presents to buy, which cards to write, and what food to buy. Becoming swept away with all the preparations is so easily done, and by the time Christmas comes, the only thing on our mind is staying awake through Christmas dinner.
Jesus was aware of the need to take rest. He was aware that his disciples needed rest too. His answer was for them to go with him to a quiet place.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6:31-32)
Just imagine feeling absolutely exhausted, then being invited to follow Jesus to a quiet place. Suddenly your legs are re-energised and you’re still moving, his call is impossible to ignore. His call to rest is still as strong as being called to action.
Think about sitting in that boat with Jesus. The sound of the water lapping the sides of the boat, the fresh air of the wind, the noises of the boat moving with the waves. Imagine enjoying the peace, then catching a glimpse of Jesus, in that moment you are acutely aware that you are in his presence, a heat gently glows from your chest, a deep knowing of love.
In the story the rest is short lived, as Jesus and his disciples go on to feed those who have gone ahead of their boat. It is similar for us, we take time out with Jesus, we feel replenished physically, spiritually and then we carry on, renewed in energy and faith.
Advent begins this Sunday. Try to remember, whilst submerged in all the preparation to celebrate the birth of Christ, that Christ himself said to come away with him and to rest.