Every now and then, the Lord will bring back to mind a sermon I’ve preached with the words, “Remember when you said…?” That happened recently when I was struggling with taking a sabbath day of rest. Remember when you were a kid (or maybe it’s happening now with your own kids) and you refused to take a nap? Your parents told you, “Take a nap. You need it. It will be good for you.” But to you that seemed ridiculous. There were games to be played, adventures to be had. A nap wouldn’t help, it was an annoyance. That’s the attitude I had regarding sabbath rest that day. I had too much to do. Too many important tasks on the checklist. Rest would just get in the way. But those all too familiar words from God came to me, “Remember when you said sabbath rest isn’t a suggestion, it’s a command?” With that in mind, I set aside my checklist and picked up a book to read for fun. About an hour into my reading I realized just how much I needed that sabbath break. Just how wise the Lord was in commanding rest. Just how silly I was to think I knew better.
We are in one of the busiest seasons of the year. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is full of both tasks and fun things as we prepare for the holidays. If ever there’s a season when we might think we should set aside sabbath rest because there’s too much to do, it’s now. But if ever there’s a time when we need sabbath rest most, it’s now. For one, our physical bodies need rest and time for re-creation. But just as important, our spirits need refreshment and time to reflect on the wonder of Advent. Jesus has come! And he has promised to come again! Having time to reflect on that joyous news will reframe all that we do, both in the holiday season and in every other moment of our lives. Remember, sabbath rest isn’t a suggestion from God, it’s a command. But it is a gracious and life-giving command. And it is a command that we need to especially heed in this busy season.