Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Yesterday we were in New York City taking in the smells, lights, and sounds of the busiest place on earth at the busiest time of the year. Galaxy-sized jumbotrons lit up sidewalks packed with people from all over the world. I wondered how many selfies per second I was witnessing. The windows at Saks 5th Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and Macy’s were feats of Christmas wonder.
At St. Patrick’s Cathedral they hosted a free organ recital. Thousands gathered in awe as deep tones moved throughout the cavernous, towering space. Candle and pine smells filled the air. In the middle of this, some children clutched handheld devises, trading actual reality for virtual reality, while others whined to their parents that they were tired, or hungry, or bored. Parents summoned stamina and patience.
Weariness in such an environment is not an option. If you feel like you have energy at one moment, don’t worry, both the moment and the energy will pass.
In fact, New York City seems a perfect place to get into contact with personal weariness. And, in this setting, Jesus’ offer in Matthew 11:28 stands out as particularly sweet and satisfying. He has come to bring peace. He brings peace between us and God, peace between us and each other, and peace between us and our own hearts. This peace has a better name: rest. I pray for all of us to find rest in Christ this Advent.
(Although… maybe we can’t find rest; maybe, in Christ, rest has to find us.)