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“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place, and there He was praying.  Simon and his companions searched for Him, and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:35-37 CSB

Crowds during the holidays are a given.  Retail stores will have long lines, traffic will be heavier, especially around shopping centers, people will be frantically shopping for the perfect gift.  The closer it is to Christmas, the more frazzled the crowds will be. I spent over 20 years working in the Christmas madness of retail. Rarely were people kind, most often they were rude and hurtful.  Jesus was followed by crowds wherever He went. Once He started His public ministry, people followed Him everywhere. We can learn some things from Him this Christmas season.

The most important thing Jesus did was find time alone to pray. Lifting up the holiday stressors we all endure in prayer can help us navigate the holidays more peacefully.  First, we’ll be reminded what is truly important, people. Jesus came for the people, all of them. As John tells us in his gospel, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).  As we’re facing the crowds this holiday season, keep this in mind.  The rude person who jumps in front of us in line, Jesus died for them.  The bad driver who cuts us off while driving, Jesus died for them. The harried store clerk who is at wits end, Jesus died for them too.  We get to show everyone we encounter this holiday season a different way to handle the holidays.

We can plan ahead for our Christmas shopping, going when the stores are less crowded.  We can give ourselves extra time, expecting the delays that come with holiday crowds so we’re not pressed for time, causing us to be more irritable.  We can focus on representing Jesus well to everyone we meet, so our actions will remind them of the reason for the season. And daily we can find renewed strength by getting alone with Jesus and lifting up our worries to Him.   When we do, we’ll find rest from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. We’ll find renewed strength for another day. We’ll find hope in the midst of the busiest season of the year. A season that most people have forgotten what it is actually about, Jesus.

Today I’m going to find rest from the crowds by spending time with Jesus.  How can you find rest today? Comment below.

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