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Nov 28

1st Sunday of Advent


Advent 2021

Do you make Christmas lists?

Anticipating Christmas, many children (and quite a few adults) make wish lists. They share them with others, recite them on Santa’s lap, and imagine the gifts that they hope to receive.

Many adults make different sorts of lists. There are so many things that need to be done before Christmas. Shopping, scheduling, cleaning, decorating, baking, menu planning, events to attend, traditions to uphold, memories to make. The list goes on and on. Of course, this doesn’t replace our normal lists of responsibilities, tasks, and projects. It’s exhausting! There’s just so much to do.

No wonder we lose our focus on the things that matter the most. Distractions are all around us.

If we are going to regain a focus on what matters most, we first need to stop.

Genesis 2:2-3 tells of God’s completion of creation, saying:

On the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

God rested. Clearly that means something different that it would mean for us. We rest because we are tired, but that can’t apply to God. Resting means something different for him.

The Hebrew word for rest is the same root as Sabbath. It means “stop.”

God resting from the work of creation doesn’t mean that he was worn out, but rather that this work was complete. He stopped. He didn’t stop caring or providing or enjoying creation, but it was finished. He declared it complete and very good.

There’s an important model for us in the Creator’s rest. It is so important that God uses it to explain his commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8–11)

God certainly calls his people to productive work, but he also calls us to follow his example of rest – to take a break from our constant busyness. He calls us to rest not for its own sake, but to give his people the time and space to breathe, to reflect, to recharge, to spend time in his presence, to worship. Stop. Rest. Enjoy the gifts that God gives.

As we rest, we find the space to reflect on Advent. We anticipate the coming of Jesus. We remember that the gift of Sabbath finds its ultimate fulfillment in him who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

He’s not calling us just to take some time off, but to take the time to be with him. To receive the rest that he has won for us. To let him fill us with his grace, mercy, and peace.

Are you having a hard time keeping focus in this season? Then stop for a little while. Rest is ready for you in Jesus.


Repeat the Sounding Joy: A Concordia Christmas

A new made-for-TV special episode of “A Concordia Christmas” was filmed for PBS in the Borland-Manske Center, airing during the week of Christmas.

Learn More

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