About the Episode
We often don’t think of the word Sabbath when we talk about Christmas and the birth of Jesus, but actually, the two are closely related. And even though some have pointed to Jesus as a reason to ignore the Sabbath, you really can’t have one without the other. I hope you listen in as we explore this concept.
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You’re listening to episode seven of the Simply Sabbath podcast.
Rest doesn’t have to be a four-letter word. If you feel like you’re about to break from exhaustion. Let me invite you to Simply Sabbath, a podcast for the burnt-out Christian mom, who longs to get back to the core of who she is and to reclaim the deep joy and stabilizing peace Jesus has for her in her every day– without the mom guilt that often accompanies self-care practices.
Hi, my name is Rachel Fahrenbach and I help busy moms just like you add a simple restful family Sabbath to their week. So they can experience a refueling that gives them exactly what they need to live the life that God has called them to. I’m so glad you’ve joined me today. Let’s get to it
This year, Christmas Eve and Christmas day take up space on the calendar during the traditionally observed Sabbath –Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. And while I know Jesus was not actually born on December 25th, to me, it seems extremely poetic to remember his birth on the day when we rest from our work in order to proclaim God as a faithful provider.
I’m going to propose something to you as you move through this, the last advent week of Christmas:
You can not have Sabbath without Jesus.
And you cannot have Jesus without the Sabbath.
We often don’t think of the Sabbath when we think of Jesus. In fact, many even point to Jesus as the reason why we can ignore the Sabbath, but Jesus and the Sabbath are much more involved and entangled than you and I most likely have ever been taught in church.
There is, of course, the fact that Jesus began his mission of redemption by reading from the scroll of Isaiah on the Sabbath. And there is the fact that he uttered “it is finished” just hours before the Sabbath. And then he rested in death over that period of time.
But even more striking, I believe, is the correlation between the two that John makes in the first chapter of his gospel.
Each Sabbath, as my family gathers around the table, I light a candle. As I recite John’s words:
In the beginning was the word and the word was with God. And the word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
I then light a second candle of the continue: all things are made through him and without him was not anything made that had been made. In him with life and the life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
When I wrote the liturgy that we follow week after week to welcome the Sabbath, I knew I wanted to include these verses. There was a moment, a number of years ago when it really sunk in for me that the Jesus of John chapter one was the Creator named in Genesis chapter one.
In the beginning was the Word.
Let there be light.
And the light was the life of all mankind.
As I mentioned earlier, we are in the final week of advent. During this time we recall the anticipation of the Jews for the coming Messiah. During this time we remember that we still live in a time of anticipation, an advent of a new creation. We have been redeemed, but one day all will be restored, renewed and made right. A returned to the Garden-Kingdom.
Heaven on earth.
Emmanuel, God with us.
And we with him just as it was in the beginning.
We can often miss this beautiful intimate detail of our origin story. Yes, our origin story, not just that of Adam and Eve, but the one that belongs to all of humanity written by the Alpha and the Omega. It is the one that tells us that the king of king designed, crafted and spoke into existence a kingdom, meant for us to co-rule with Him.
And then, Genesis 2:15, tells us, he breathed life into the lungs of Adam and rested him in the garden with himself. And then, Exodus 20:11, tells us he rested.
The Hebrew word used in both of these passages is nuakh. I hope I’m saying that right. I probably am not, but in case you want to look it up, it’s spelled N U A K H and it means to take up residence with, to dwell.
You see God spoke the physical and spiritual convergence of heaven on earth. God breathed life into humanity and commissioned it to tend to sacred space. And his presence permeated to the ends of the earth, wrapping around Adam and Eve in a tangible rest as they lived out their unique design and purpose.
The guys at the Bible Project explain it this way. “Creation is depicted as a cosmic temple filled with God’s presence on the climactic Sabbath.”
But then fractured heaven on earth into heaven and earth. The convergence removed with the removal of humanity from the garden. Where once humanity had freedom to experience the right rhythms of creation. Now experience an enslavement to sin and the work that was given to us as part of our image bearer identity, what was once was meant to be experienced in a life rich communion with God, it now drains us and it dragged us away from him.
But a command was given:
Stop and remember!
Once you dwelt with me. Teach your sons and daughters. Teach those who work for you. Teach the stranger in your land. I am your creator. I am your provider. I am your rest. And one day I will establish heaven on earth once again.
“And his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace.”
Emmanuel, God with us.
As it was in the beginning, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld his glory.” Heaven taking up residence on earth, the light shining in the darkness.
And behold, a Virgin will conceive, and bear a son.
He called himself the Lord of the Sabbath. The convergence of heaven on earth. God taking up residence with his creation. Once more, this time to release creation from enslavement. To free us. To forgive our debt and invite us back into the garden.
” And a multitude of angels sang glory in the highest and earth, peace and Goodwill to mankind.”
You can not have Sabbath without Jesus, and you can not have Jesus without the Sabbath. He is the Sabbath, the very embodiment of God dwelling with his creation. The full provision. The lamb. The rest out of which we work.
As you move through this week in anticipation of Christmas. Let me remind you that while Christ’s atoning work on the cross is finished, his work to make all things new is not. It is ongoing.
The holy spirit takes up residence within each of us, mini- temples shining a light in the darkness. We bear witness when we Sabbath.
Witness to the finished work of the cross. Witness to the restorative work of the resurrection. A renewed Garden-Kingdom is coming. Heaven on earth.
Sabbath as it should be.
As it was in the beginning.
God with us. Dwelling with his creation. Emmanuel.
May we not forget this beautiful truth as we observed both Sabbath and Christmas this weekend.
I’ll see you next week.
Hey, I just want to say thank you for joining me for today’s conversation. I know many things demand your attention. I don’t take lightly the privilege it is to share your time. I want to make things as easy and simple for you. So I’ve linked to all the resources mentioned in the episode in the show notes, and you can always find the link and more helpful information on my website, www.simplysabbath.com.
As we say our goodbyes, let me remind you that what we’re talking about in this podcast is not just another thing to add to your to-do list. This is not another expectation for you to live up to. It is a gift out stretched from the hand of your creator. An invitation to press pause on walking alongside Jesus in all the things He’s called you to do. And instead the down, across from Him and just be with Him.
It is an invitation to Simply Sabbath.
Reflect: God desires and created space (both within environment and time) to dwell with His Creation and Sabbath is a tangible expression of that truth.
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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help busy moms add a simple, rest-filled family Sabbath to their week. If that sounds like something you want for your week, but don’t know where to start, grab this free how-to resource: The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Simple Family Sabbath.