Joanna ZuidemaComment


It’s something we all yearn for — the space to breathe a little deeper, move a little slower and fully experience each moment before it passes by.

The deep breaths, the pauses, the relaxation are all tools to restore both body and mind.

In grief, caregiving, or navigating life with a terminal illness, true rest is vital but can often be difficult to find.

We have a tendency to run on auto-pilot; functioning just well enough to put on the mask of normalcy, while silently suffocating under the pressures of reality.

We put on the veil of ‘fine’ by smiling through the unintentionally painful comments, by shrouding ourselves in busy-ness and productivity, by hiding the tears, or by dancing around the hard conversations.

These veils and masks are put even more to the test in the twinkling light of the holidays. This is a season of excess. One that glorifies overconsumption, overspending, overeating, and overscheduling, one that screams ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ from every radio station, billboard, and shopping bag. What exists behind the mask quickly becomes starkly juxtaposed to the glittering world around us.

When our priorities shift in such a profound way, we need to make space to honor what’s behind the veil, because pretending is absolutely exhausting.

When family becomes a higher priority than ever before, we need to allow space to spend quality time with one another.

When we’re stressed, we need to allow space to manage our health so our bodies can better support the weight of life.

When our closest friends mean more to us than ever, we need to allow space to nurture those relationships.

When we carry grief, we need to allow our brokenness to exist.

When we are running on empty, we need to allow ourselves to rest.

Now, I’m not talking about taking a month off for finding restoration on a sunny beach somewhere exotic (but by all means, invite us if you go!)

I’m talking about being more intentional in your day-to-day this December:

  • Spend more time looking at faces instead of screens. Put your phone down and turn off your laptop. The internet will be there when you get back.
  • Erase items from your holiday to-do list. You made the list; you can un-make it too
  • Just once, stay home instead. The party will go on.
  • Get coffee with that friend you haven’t seen face-to-face in awhile. It’ll make your heart smile.
  • Pass on that third piece of pie. Your body will thank you.
  • Allow yourself to cry when you’re sad and to laugh hard — the kind of laughter that hurts and makes your eyes water — when you’re happy.

Spend this December fully embracing this one precious life you have, however heavy or light it may be this year.

It truly is a gift from God — from the One who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death, from the One who brings peace, from the One who brings rest.

If you do nothing else this Christmas, spend some time with the birthday boy Himself.

He is eagerly waiting for you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28