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  • Writer's pictureMonica Walton

Yoked up in the Waiting

Jesus said to the crowds: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Matthew 11:28-30

From my earliest memory of hearing this Gospel passage, I equated this Scripture with times in my life when the workpile seemed endless, or times when I was really struggling with to keep my head above water. It made sense to me in that space. Yes, life can be really burdensome at times leaving us tired. When life is weighing heavy on me, I do want to be yoked with Jesus so that He can make it lighter and easier to navigate. This week, I absorbed His words in a new way, as His offer to help me in my waiting times.


Advent is our time of waiting. We know it. We say it. We read about it. We desire to honor it by just peacefully being in the stillness and joy of knowing He is coming. But, it is also undeniably a season of doing. There is much to do if you plan to celebrate Christmas in any way, big or small. We just can't help it! Even if you did all your shopping ahead of time, there are still things to be done during these weeks leading to Christmas.

"The way we wait affects how we celebrate and enjoy Christmas. The way we wait may grow in us a new realization that everything about God, and especially God's Son is worth our waiting." ~ Donal Neary SJ

When I read this quote from The Messenger Advent Booklet, it really struck me and made me ponder ~ How do I wait for the coming of the Lord? Am I truly waiting for Jesus and preparing for giving my life to Him, or am I mostly waiting for the party and presents, and then waiting for some time to relax on December 26th?


We all have experiences of waiting.... waiting for Christmas morning, waiting to be old enough, waiting to be finished with school, waiting to begin a new job, waiting for a child to be born, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for the timer to ding, waiting for a sale, waiting in line, waiting for a package to arrive, waiting for a bad day to end, waiting for a human to pick up the phoneline, waiting for the three dots to produce the message, waiting for warmer/cooler weather, waiting for a loved one to make it home, waiting for retirement, waiting to see the doctor, waiting for test results...


Sometimes our waiting is filled with stress, worry, pacing, and overdoing things to fill the space that lingers.

Sometimes, as the length of waiting grows, hints of resentment and bitterness begin to creep in.


We can wind up a bundle of exhausted nerves....not the graceful Advent of waiting we had hoped for.


Last Saturday, the Gospel told of the people waiting for a Savior, like sheep without a shepherd. Scripture says those people were troubled and abandoned. (Mt 9:35-36) My guess is that their waiting was also stressful, worrisome, nervous, exhausted, and maybe a little bitter and resentful. When Jesus saw the crowds, His heart was moved with pity for them.

On Sunday, we heard about John the Baptist preparing the way of the Lord. (Mk 1:1-8) The people came from far and wide to be saved. They were told to wait for the One who is more powerful, the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.


He came. He saved. He still comes and He still saves.

Now, it's our turn to wait for Him. How are we waiting?


As I sat in a Holy Hour of Adoration, still and quiet and focused on Him, this story came to me as the message for us this week. Picture Jesus standing before you with a gift in His hands. He says, "This is for you." You untie the ribbon and open the box. Inside is a yoke!

Jesus says, "Come with me. Learn from me. Let's start now!" You ask if you can try it on first. Naturally, He gives a nod, never impeding our freedom to choose.

You are worried it's going to be too heavy. It looks like it will hurt to try to carry this, and how will you ever be able to go to all the places and do all the things while strapped into a yoke?

Then, you begin stressing about the time it will take to learn to stay in stride with Jesus once you are yoked to Him. You're automatically calculating what it will cost you in time and effort, and you are already grieving the missed opportunities you had lined up. What if you get stuck? What if you feel trapped? You just don't see how this is a gift.

You turn to Jesus and say, "I'm already following You, Lord. The plans I have are my way of sharing joy and love and celebrating You this Christmas. Isn't that the same idea as being yoked to you? After all, You gave me this family to care for. You led me to this job. I have so many responsibilities. I can't be tied down during the holidays."

Jesus looks at you with great love and compassion. He says, "I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' " (Is 41:13) As He holds your hand, all the worries and stressers and grief you were anticipating melt away. Joy and peace and courage take their place. He says, "Accept my yoke. Come with me. Learn from me. Let's follow my plan and do this my way." Then it becomes clear....when I take up His yoke, everything will be different when I am with Him -- in my coming, going, serving, doing, praying, and even the waiting times.

 

This week, following along with the book, Advent Reflections for This Day, we are reflecting on the Gospel of John 1:6-8,19-28 and the Modern Day Parable, In Search of a Servant. Are we waiting for a more convenient time to work on being a better servant of God? What is getting in the way of deepening our relationship with Jesus and being yoked to the Lord?


Maybe we just need a new way of looking at Scripture. That's why it's called the living Word of God. He speaks to each of us in the way we need it most at the moment.

This time, He taught me to stay Yoked up in the Waiting.

Thank You, Jesus!





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Ospite
18 dic 2023
Valutazione 4 stelle su 5.

This year has been the most stressful in my life. I have kept my faith strong , but I have had moments of giving up. I keep reminding myself that God is here with me. Yes, I am yoked to Him.

I am waiting. I am waiting...

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Monica Walton
Monica Walton
18 dic 2023
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May the Lord grant you peace in this season of joyful waiting for the Prince of Peace. Surround yourself with faith filled believers. God calls us to community, so that we may love and serve one another. He does not wish us to walk alone. This community of love will accompany you on your journey, and help you when assistance is needed. God bless you with a Merry, Joyous, Peaceful Christmas 🛐❤️💚

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Ospite
16 dic 2023
Valutazione 4 stelle su 5.

Very good ….. what a nice (and somewhat troubling reflection) That surrender is not easy …. In fact more difficult during this season which is supposed to be Peace and Joy. But I like the idea of being yoked up to Him during this pretty stressful time ! Peace to All !

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