“The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way. After His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18 CSB
We are five days from Christmas Eve. I wanted to help guide us into the birth of Jesus with some reverence for what is coming in the week ahead. I’m hoping and praying each of you, over the next five days will take a moment to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, letting the story of Jesus seek deep into your soul. I pray you will let these moments fill your spirit with His joy, your Heart with His love, and your holiday with His peace. We’ve talked about lots of ways to find rest this month, but none of them compare to the rest we find in Jesus. Jesus tells us, His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30 NIV).
Today we are going to start with solitude. When you look up solitude in the Bible, it’s literally defined as a lonely place. But yet if we are not capable of getting alone with God, we will never know God. Jesus modeled this for us, as Luke told us, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16 NIV). And when we withdraw to a moment of quiet, we can’t make it about us.
This past summer, working through a relationship issue, I had a friend who reminded me of this. I was telling her my heart wasn’t changing, I was filled with anger and hatred toward this particular situation. I told her how I was getting alone with God, but nothing was happening in my heart. Her wise words to me were, “It sounds like you’re spending your prayer time telling God what to do, rather than letting Him tell you what to do.” (Thank you Laura, I’m grateful for the depth of our friendship that allows us to speak into each other’s lives so honestly.) Don’t make it about you, make it about God. For this first day, for this first moment, just find solitude.
I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but my go to picture of finding peace in a hectic world is Susannah Wesley. She birthed 19 children in the late 1600’s, two of them John and Charles Wesley, famous men of the cloth. John Wesley started the Methodist denomination, therefore she has been dubbed the “Mother of Methodists.” She found solitude by flipping her apron over her head, this signaled to her children she was praying and could not be disturbed. Here’s a great article on prayer tips you can learn from her. If she found solitude, so can we.
Today I’m going to rest in solitude. How can you find rest today?