Advent 2016 Devotional: December 10

December 10, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 10.37.22 PM.pngRest for Our Souls

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

Are we not all exhausted? Weary from carrying our own load? Do we not overwhelm ourselves with “have-tos” during the Christmas season? Christmas cards, holiday decorations, baking, travel, and shopping for those perfect gifts?

“O Holy Night” moves me with its imagery:

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining ‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

In the summer of 2015 I was drowning in a job I loved, burned out, heavy with family medical issues, and wondering about my purpose. It took me two weeks to realize I had lost vision in the center of my right eye as I blamed blurriness on eye allergies and fatigue. I broke down crying in front of the ophthalmologist when she suggested yoga and more self-care to get the fluid to stop leaking and collecting on my retina. Ha, seriously? When?? Being an over-thinker, I had spent years composing the advantages and disadvantages of my career. Had this decision finally been made for me through this physical manifestation? The doctor helped me reduce my work schedule, so I was temporarily paid and had Thursdays open when a BSF leader called me two weeks later. I had signed up the year before, but backed out due to work. That gift of free time allowed me to invest in studying scripture, specifically Revelation. Christmas was different for our family last year – more purposeful and spiritually renewing.

Did God provide that rest for me? A chance to stop and check the direction I was headed? I needed to reset. A fresh and new desire was born in my heart. The season of Advent can refocus our minds once again on the Word and on Jesus, finding true rest for our souls there.

Thank you God for the perfect gift of Jesus. Please help us find rest, knowing that you are in control and sent Jesus to bring us free grace, restoration, and the hope of eternal life with you. Amen. Rest for Our Souls

Heather and Brook Ballard married at South Main in 2002. They’re thankful for Sophie (5), Peyton (5), Dylan (12), and stepsister Kelley (22).