Fuel for the Journey

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Mark 6:30-32, NIV

The holidays are upon us and with it two major things – shopping and gatherings. Both involve interactions with other people. For some, as soon as the holiday music begins to play, they are filled with cheer and excitement. For some, the opposite holds true. For some, the pandemic provided a needed break from holiday madness. As travel numbers climb, lines grow, and bank accounts deplete, we may find ourselves on the short end of the stick in many cases. 

For Christians, this marks the beginning of the Christian year. We are preparing to behold the mystery of the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For church leaders, this begins the series of high holy days, which end with Resurrection Sunday, followed by a brief pause then Pentecost. Christians have a long way to go until we enter Ordinary Time again.

The point is whether it is Holiday or Holy Days, we are going to need to keep our tanks filled with the fruit of the Spirit to shine light and give good cheer. So, how do we do it? Whatever the situation, self-care is crucial. Before we step our doors, answer the phones, cook that beloved dish, or serve in our communities, first, we must take care of ourselves. 

If you are wondering if self-care is the proper thing to do. Recently, Portugal parliament passed a law that will fine employers who call or text employees after working hours. If a whole country is working on building self-care into its system, what’s the harm in us resting when we need it. Still not convinced.

I draw your attention to Jesus Christ. In Mark 6:30-32, Jesus modeled self-care. The apostles were so excited about everything that they were doing that they forgot to take care of themselves; so, Jesus reminded them of the need to rest. 

So, what is it going to be? Are you going to burn yourself out shopping until you drop, cooking until you pass out, or dealing with stressors until you break? Jesus is admonishing us to take the time to rest. Rest and self-care are our greatest fuels for the journey. 

Prompt for Thought: Prepare a list of 5-10 ways that you can do self-care. Share your list with others and encourage them to do the same. 

Prayer for the Journey: God, thank you for reminding us of all things, including the need to rest. Thank you for modeling self-care in the Bible; so, we don’t have to feel guilty when we need a break. Help us through this season of Holidays and Holy Days. Thank you for reminding us that when the burden is too heavy, you are right there to lighten the load. In extreme cases, you will carry us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.