Advent 4 – Let Us Find Our Rest in Thee
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Advent is the breaking-in of the promises of God into the world. But it isn’t simply God as an attachment. Hope isn’t an option tacked on as an afterthought available for whoever feels like applying it to their lives. Advent is the ushering in of a new creation – a transformative reality that allows us not simply to have hope but to live in hope. It is the establishment of an utterly new way of being in the world that grants us the opportunity to become the very people we were created to be.
It is in accepting that vocation that we find our rest in God.
There are so many ways to think about resting in God. We take Sabbaths from work, we let go of the need to fix the world by ourselves, we stop placing systems of busyness, ritual, and performance between us and our worship of God – but I’m slowly coming to believe that all of those ways find their roots in our accepting who God made us to be. It is hard to live a façade, to pretend to be something we are not. Our frantic schedules, our pursuit of success, our masquerades of worship are all us trying to live up to expectations of our own creation. And it’s exhausting. But in this world transformed by hope, learning to be comfortable in our own skin and pursuing the passions God has placed on our hearts feeds our souls because we are doing the very things God intends for us to be doing. Replenishment is rest – it is the revitalization of who we are.
Resting in God doesn’t mean doing nothing. To do nothing means I have forgotten who I am, I have stopped living into the hope of the new creation. To do nothing is to say no to all expectations regarding who I am – even the very ones that will give me life to the full. Finding our rest in God means being exactly who we are at our core. It isn’t a rejection of all compulsions, merely those that divert us from our path of fulfillment. We stop trying to be something we are not, but we are still at work spreading the transformative way of hope by living into our callings. Rest is never static; it is rather the active pursuit of our God-given place in the world.
So during this season of Advent as we are encouraged to pause from the busyness of life in order to anticipate and hope, I wish the message we would hear would not be simply “do less” (although that is often needed) but a more revitalizing and hopeful “do what is fitting.” Stop pretending. Stop exhausting ourselves with the false expectations of life. But instead fit – perfectly and restfully – into our own lives as we accept the transformative advent of the new creation.