(Jesus said) "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
The topic for today's devotion was suggested by Mr. Ian Adnams, consultant and information specialist for the Lutheran Church-Canada.
The countdown to Christmas has begun.
It is an exciting thing to see those dates being checked off our calendars, thrilling to watch the enthusiasm of our children and grandchildren as the special day of Jesus' birth comes closer.
With more than 25 years in the parish, I can remember one of my great frustrations was driving around town and seeing so many of my members remembering to celebrate Christmas -- but forgetting to worship the Christ.
By that I mean that while these folks had put up their trees, decorated their homes, attended a plethora of parties and had sent out Christmas cards by the bushel, I never saw them in church. If I managed to catch them and talk to them about their absence, the excuse they gave was almost always the same. They said something like, "Pastor, I'm just so busy! I'm at my wits' end. I'm certain I'll never get done all the things I simply have to do. I'm sure the Lord understands and will forgive me."
Yup, that's what they said.
And me? I tried to encourage them to come to worship.
Still, I wish I had the recent study which was made by Yeshiva University in Manhattan, New York. They visited with over 92,000 women over the age of 50. What they found was most revealing. They discovered that those folks who went to church faithfully were less likely to be depressed and more likely to be optimistic about life.
Now Christians have always known that's the way it is. When you know Jesus as your Savior, when you are forgiven of your sins and adopted into the family of faith, you have a different outlook; you have a Savior who gives rest to those who labor and are heavy laden.
That's exactly the kind of thing those over-rushed followers of the Savior needed. They didn't need God to understand or forgive their ignoring Him, they needed to have God grant them peace and a perspective that allowed them to worship their Lord.
So if the Christmas rush has run you ragged, I pray you will take time to visit with the Savior and you will see the same Christ who was born to save you from your sins is also the Lord who gives the weary rest.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, right now many of us are holding on to a long list of things that simply "must be done." May that list include that which is really important: worshipping the Savior who is born so we might have have rest and salvation. In our Savior's Name we pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries