Daily Reflection
December 10th, 2003
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
Nursing School Chaplain
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10
Matthew 11:28-30

A popular saying that we sometimes hear goes like this:  “Stop the world, I want to get off.”  In our fast paced modern world, many of us sometimes share that sentiment.  The approach of Christmas can unfortunately be an especially hectic and busy time.  We can be so wrapped up in the commercial aspects of the holiday season that we find it very difficult to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. 

In today’s gospel reading Jesus has a message for those of us who feel like this.  It is a timeless message that is just as valuable for us as it was for the crowds who first heard it 2000 years ago.  Jesus says: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened.”  And that includes most of us today because we do work hard and we do feel the burdens of our duties and responsibilities.  We do feel especially burdened at this time of the year.  Jesus is giving all of us who feel that way an open invitation to come to him.  He wants us to consider ourselves invited to seek him out. 

How do we do that during our busy days?  We don’t have to go to church to find Jesus. We don’t have to use our prayer books to find him.  We can find Jesus wherever or whenever in our day that we take a moment to think of and say hello to Jesus.  A quick connection like that may last for a very short time, but it can put us in touch with Jesus.  It can be our response to the invitation of Jesus to come to him.

If we come to him, Jesus promises to give us rest.  He will refresh us in body and spirit.  Even if we come to him for only a very short time, Jesus will give us rest and renew our spirits for the labors and burdens of the day. 

Jesus further tells us that we should take up his yoke because his yoke is easy and his burden is light.  We may wonder how a yoke can be easy or a burden  light.  In answer to that question I look to world famous Boys Town right here in Omaha.  On the grounds at Boys Town is a statue of a teenage boy carrying a younger boy on his back.  The inscription reads: “He ain’t heavy father, he’s my brother.”  To me that says that a burden isn’t as heavy when its taken up and carried with love.  I think that Jesus is telling us that bearing a heavy burden with love makes the burden lighter.  As this Christmas approaches and our burdens are heavy, maybe we can find a few minutes a day to come to Jesus and express our love to him.  If we do that, we have the promise of Jesus that our burdens will seem lighter and easier to bear.        

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