Celebrating Gifts Given: Rest in the Covenant

By Campus Missionary Mary Rowley,

Let me tell you, college students know how to rest. They get a break, and they relax – sleeping in until noon, eating ice cream for breakfast, pointedly ignoring everything related to classes. Unfortunately, once college is over, rest becomes hard to come by. Even on weekends or days off, it can be hard to legitimately rest. We constantly have things to do: fixing the sink, catching up on work, paying the bills, squeezing in trips to see family… And if we have days off for a holiday, that can be even worse. We’re cooking and cleaning and baking and shopping and generally, not resting.

I think David would have understood our need to be constantly “doing.” He’s the king; he’s a very busy man. But the moment he has a break, he’s searching for something else to do. He says to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent” (verse 2). Now, is it a bad thing to want to build a nice house for God? Of course not. But God has something else in mind.

God assures David, “I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. … And I will give you rest from all your enemies” (verses 9, 11). God has big plans for David, and one of those plans is for David to rest. He understands that anyone who is constantly going, going, going will eventually burn out. David likes to be busy, but he needs to rest, too. God reminded him of what he has promised: a great name, a place for Israel, peace in the nation. With that reminder, it would be a bit easier for David to take a break. God was taking care of him.

God has reminders for us, too. The throne of David has indeed been established forever, as verse 16 predicts; Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. Jesus’s birth is our reminder that we can stop “doing” for awhile and just rest. He’s taken care of us; we are saved and set free. We can rest this Christmas season because of what Jesus has done for us. If we don’t have a perfectly clean house and beautifully decorated cookies and the ideal gifts for everyone, God will still love us, and that’s what matters. So let’s take some time to rest this holiday. God’s covenant is enough.