Whew! What a year it has been in the garden.  As I sit at the keyboard thinking about everything that we’ve grown and preserved, I have a real sense of gratitude and accomplishment. The year 2021 has been good for us. God has blessed our efforts and our land.

In literature, winter is often the season that is used to symbolize death, pain, loneliness or an end. However, in my mind, I like to think of winter as a time of rest.

As the temperatures fall and the ground begins to freeze, our outdoor gardening work slows way down. Besides watering plants, to keep them from dehydrating and freezing, and pulling some sweet root vegetables, it actually comes to a complete halt. Trees and deciduous plants have lost their leaves; bulbs are lying unseen below the ground; the soil is quiet, and our attention turns to the wild birds who appreciate full seed and suet feeders.

To everything there is a season, and for our garden, and our lives, this is the season of rest. The soil rests; the tools rest; the sprinklers rest, and we rest.

Edible gardening is hard work and so is food preservation. It’s certainly not for everyone. For us, it is not done out of necessity but rather it’s a choice. It is a way of life that we understand and love. It allows us the opportunity to improve the quality and diversity of our food, and it keeps us directly connected to nature and to God.

I’ve heard it said before that there are two kinds of rest. One is for your body, and the other is for your mind.  Sometimes we just get physically worn down. We need to be still and even sleep. However, many of us are tired and weary because we won’t allow our minds to stop. In this information age it’s just hard to turn it all off.

God was aware that we were going to struggle with busyness and worry, so He built in ways to help us slow down and keep our focus on Him. He commanded us to remember the Sabbath Day and to weekly rest. He established the year of Jubilee which involved forgiveness, restoration and even resting the land from growing crops.

God, in His infinite wisdom, is mindful that not only are our gardens comprised of dirt but that we, ourselves, are made of it. In order to be our best, we need both physical and mental rest. We need His strength to be productive, and we need His rest to feel whole.

The earth is groaning, and people are, too. I talk with people all the time who say they are “just tired of it all.” A lot of voices are demanding our attention. Lights flash, noises are loud, but the still, small voice of our Creator whispers, “Come to Me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). His rest is real and complete.

As we come to the end of another year and the beginning of another winter, perhaps you too could see the possibility of rest. As our gardens and plants, and even our animals rest, will you lift your eyes above our earthly situation and see the only One who can offer comfort, peace and perfect rest?

The God of all Creation loves you! He loves YOU, and He sent His only begotten Son to be born in a barn and die on a tree, so that you can enter into His perfect rest. Christmas reminds us that He was born as a lowly baby, but our raging world reminds us that He is coming back soon as the exalted King!

For now, it’s important that we experience His earthly rest, but one day it’s going to be even more important that we experience His eternal rest. May God give you the wisdom and grace to seek His rest.

Return to your rest, O my soul for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7).