Today’s Gospel: Matthew 11:28-30
Optional Memorial of Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin
By the time we extinguish the candles on our Advent wreath in the evening, I am worn out. The children are mostly in bed, although one or two still creep to their doors, asking for another drink of water or sharing fears about oddly-shaped shadows lurking in corners. There are still dishes to be cleaned up and another batch of cookies to bake. A pile of Christmas cards sits ready to be addressed with felt tip pen. I need to go over my lesson for first grade religious education and finish planning the menu for our annual Christmas caroling party. Tomorrow, I want the children to do a Christmas craft for their grandparents and take some treats to the neighbors. We need to collect food for the food pantry, too, and put aside some of our extra coats for the less fortunate. My tired body wants to sink into the sofa with some reindeer cookies and a cup of hot chocolate, but I know if I quit now, I will start tomorrow even further behind. At this time of year, when there are always more cards to be written and more gifts to be wrapped, how can I surrender to exhaustion before my work is done?
Jesus’ words are rest for my soul.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
I need rest so badly sometimes. I’m working hard at doing everything to make this the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes, I just want to throw up my hands and give up. There is always more to be done. As soon as something is crossed off a list, it seems it appears again at the bottom. On top of all the special things, there is the unending flow of laundry. The socks and underwear don’t wash themselves, and someone just keeps wearing them.
Jesus speaks to me again.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…
Wait. What? I thought I was going to rest. Now Jesus is inviting me to take his yoke upon me? That sounds like more work.
…for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Sharing Jesus’ yoke means not striving to do it all on my own. It means giving up the allure of perfection and being everything to everyone. It means accepting humility and not saying yes to everything out of a need to be universally loved and admired. It means a shift in my mindset…less pride in everything I can get done, more rest in Jesus, who says I’m enough already, even if my cookies don’t turn out perfectly.
As I prepare for Jesus to be born this Advent, are there things I can give up so that I can spend more time resting in him and less time trying to be perfect?
Jesus, remind me that I am enough when I rest in you. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Abbey Dupuy