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A few weeks ago, I interrupted the whirlwind of holiday preparations to bake zucchini bread. Bread to accompany us to potluck parties and friends’ homes, bread to stock our freezer for lazy days, and truthfully, bread just because I enjoy baking it.
As my hands mixed and stirred, Christmas planning and New Year’s resolutions were temporarily exchanged for grating zucchini and measuring vanilla.
Year - Pace - Season - Preparations - Arrival
This year, the dizzying pace of the season is compounded with preparations for the arrival of our first child. On top of rearranging furniture and managing the family shopping list, I fret about how to prepare for what, we are assured, will be an abrupt transition. Spending a few hours baking bread feels indulgent in a season where never-ending activity seems necessary to stay afloat.
The habit of striving isn’t unique to this time of the year, nor to our modern age. In the psalms of ascent, Solomon offers counsel to those made anxious by life’s ancient treadmill:
Matter - Passage - Toil - Reassure - Enough
No matter how well I know this passage, anxious toil remains appealing. Rising early and crashing late reassure me that I’m doing enough to build the house, doing enough for my community, doing enough for God himself.
Recently, an evening with a friend fell through. Truthfully, it was nearly the highlight of my week; I needed a break. How often do we schedule time for respite—and what do we lose when we don’t?
Believers - Words - Psalm - Context - Day
Ancient believers would have received the words of Psalm 127 in the context of the Jewish day, which started at sundown. The day began by trading the tools of toil for feasting and sleep, a reminder of God’s intention for human work to flow from rest.
When we labor for laboring’s sake, we wrongly believe that the bread of anxious toil will satisfy. Like a nutritionless snack, it appeals to our immediate hunger,...
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