Pull up a chair and notice the gift on the table. The tag reads: “From: God, To: You.”
Yes, this present is for you. Take a deep breath and lay aside your to-do list for a moment. Ready?
Now, remove the ribbon. Lift the lid and move the tissue paper aside. Is that not the most beautiful gift you’ve seen in ages? What? You don’t see it? The box looks empty?
That’s the beauty of it, my friend. The box is empty by design. When I explain, you’ll love your one-size-fits-all, yet personally designed, very-much-needed present.
Rest is one of the many gifts God places on His table for us.
Within this gift, you’ll find margins. Yes, margins. My first-grade teacher taught me to leave margins on my papers. They create a neat appearance and make the writing more attractive and easier to read.
What about margins in our daily calendars?
Margins are bits of unscheduled time for resting, creating or otherwise enjoying the day. Lately, I’ve read several blog posts about this topic. Maybe the idea of setting margins is popular because of our fast-paced lives.
We’re tempted to fill the days with countless chores and opportunities and then become frustrated when tasks are left undone, leaving no time for relaxation. Can anyone identify?
The best news? God designed rest for us because He knows we need it. Rest and margins are among the many gifts our heavenly Father gives us.
Imagine with me the table the psalmist described when he spoke to God,
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.Psalm 23:5 NKJV
How can we fight the spiritual enemies of fear, worry, doubt, and discouragement if we refuse God’s gift of rest until we become bone-tired?
Jesus said to His disciples,
Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.Mark 6:31 NKJV
Although I know Jesus rested and instructed His disciples to do so, I’ll confess. I’m a calendar crammer. (My husband may tell me to practice what I preach if he reads this post!)
Even when weeks are full, I slip extra events and chores into tiny pockets of time, erroneously thinking I’ll get to all of it. That practice creates stress and frustration I don’t need.
Here’s a better way.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.Colossians 3:15 ESV
We obey the last part of the verse, especially during this Thanksgiving month, but we often ignore the first part of the verse in our rush to join the Holiday Rush!
The lives of Christ-followers can overflow with peace and gratitude, but it’s difficult to embrace the peace of Jesus when we’re in a frenzy from a jam-packed agenda. In addition to prayer and Bible study, we need times of rest and relaxation.
The lives of Christ-followers can overflow with peace and gratitude, but it’s difficult to embrace the peace of Jesus when we’re in a frenzy from a jam-packed agenda. Click To Tweet
We need time to allow the peace of Christ to rule our hearts. We need to savor His peace and allow it to fill our minds and direct our decision-making.
Two conversations led me to rethink the way I make holiday decisions.
A dear friend shared her plans.
I’m going to make and freeze a pound cake ahead of time, bake fruitcake cookies, and make nut cookies. That’s all I’m baking this year. I’ll buy some chocolate goodies and cheese straws. I want to honor the Lord and enjoy a calm, joyful time with my family instead of being exhausted when they arrive.
Another friend confessed, “I’m dreading the holidays already! Everyone comes to my house and it’s so much work. I want them to come, and I’m happy to prepare for them, but I end up exhausted and grouchy.”
Sound familiar? It’s a blessing to serve others, but it’s also hard work. Thanksgiving opens the door to the Christmas season and the rush is on before we know it. Food, gifts, programs, cards, dinners, company…and the beat goes on.
What can we do to prepare for a joyous, peaceful holiday season?
I hope you’ll join me and try this four-step process to prepare for the holidays, and more importantly, to “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.”
Invite Jesus to Fill Your Heart with His Peace
- Sit still long enough to pray and seek God’s gift of rest.
- Ask the Prince of Peace to fill your hearts and direct your plans.
- Proceed with holiday plans and take intentional steps to share His peace with others.
Look into your box again. Pull out those margins of rest and put them into your calendar. It’s refreshing to have time to pray, take a walk, doodle or thumb through a magazine, listen to music, sketch a picture, or read.
Take one more deep breath. (Surely, we have time for at least two a day, right?)
Like the margins on my first-grade papers, unscheduled time makes our lives neater and more appealing as the joy and peace of Christ fill our hearts and overflow to others. Time spent with Him and the addition of margins will bring smiles and fortify us to resist the holiday rush.
Your friend who’s learning to add margins,
Please share the ways you accept God’s gift of rest and add margins to your calendar. Let’s help each other.
P. S. I promised to share holiday appetizer recipes, and I will soon. Until then, here’s a reminder of some old favorites.
Pigs in a Blanket
Cut canned biscuits in half or use crescent roll dough.
Add a mini sausage and some sharp cheddar or another cheese.
Roll up and bake at 375 until golden brown.
Stuff celery sticks with pimento cheese.
Garnish with extra pimento slices.
Use the celery leaves as a garnish to create a pretty appetizer plate.
Disappearing Snack Crackers
Spread softened cream cheese onto a round, salty cracker.
Add a dollop of green pepper jelly.
Coming soon: Hearty Olé Appetizer, veggie dip, pickle sandwiches, Cheese Crispies, and more