Today marks the middle of Advent – the halfway point. We have lit two of our four Advent candles in our wreaths. I’m sure many of us feel burdened, pressured and labored as the secular world reminds us of the days remaining until Christmas. Their expectations should not be our expectations.
For many, the burden is much more: the recent loss of a loved one, financial struggles, job loss, loneliness, physical and mental health issues, and drug or alcohol abuse – these are the painful struggles that many wake up to daily. Advent is a time for us to prepare, reflect, and renew ourselves as we await the light of Christ.
Jesus invites all to “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” Today’s Gospel offers a brief yet powerful message. He asks us to come and spend time with him, and he will provide the needed rest. He is not suggesting a power nap but quiet time in daily prayer away from all the noise of seasonal commercialism. We will all be healthier if we tear up our to-do lists, silence our smartphones, turn off the TVs, and give ourselves an Advent gift of daily time in quiet prayer; it will renew our souls, provide us peace, and deepen our faith. This is the “rest” Jesus is offering each of us as his Gift!
Today is the feast day of St. Lucy, also known as St. Lucia, whose name means light. Martyred during the Diocletian persecution, she is the patron saint of people who are blind and those with eye diseases. Her name and other martyrs are included in the canon of the Mass in Eucharistic Prayer I. Saint Lucy reminds us the most brilliant light is that of Christ.
Yes, we have twelve remaining days of Advent. Let the light of Christ fill me as I hand over my weariness and burdens to you, Father, and accept the peaceful rest only you can provide. During my daily prayer time, let me lift up all hurting people during this Advent season. Amen.