Readings: Isaiah 40:25-end; Psalm 103:8-13; Matthew 11:28-end
I find advent to be the perfect time to pause. It should be a time for watching and waiting. If we think back to the story of Christ’s birth, there is a time of waiting as the story unfolds until we arrive at the moment where the Lord Jesus was born. God became man but not just a man but a baby.
When you think of a baby, you might instinctively think of a meek, milk and defenceless child. This is not the way you might have expected the incarnate Lord to have entered into the world but the Christ child was born to Mary. As Christians, we believe this child to be the most important child that has ever been born. At advent when we remember the time of Christ being born, it seems pertinent we come today to a reading where Jesus calls us to come to him to find our rest.
We find the promise of rest and strength in our Old Testament and our Gospel readings for today. In our Old Testament reading, we see the power is given to the faint and strength is given to the powerless, our strength is renewed if we wait for the Lord (Isaiah 40:29-31). Aptly this passage again draws us back to the theme of waiting. As during this time of advent we watch and wait for the celebration of Christ’s birth we need to remember as we wait for the celebration of the Lord we can renew our strength as we depend on God during this time.
In the gospel reading, our gentle child has grown up and is now calling us to bring the burdens of our lives to him. When we bring our burdens and weariness to Jesus we find our rest. This year in particular has been a difficult year for many. For many the day to day tasks have been reduced while for others it has resulted in an increase in the demand for their time.
At advent this year let us make the time for true rest. May we take the time to remember the reason for celebration. Some of us may be familiar with the words of the song ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ which begins:
God rest ye merry gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay Remember Christ our Saviour Was born on Christmas Day To save us all from Satan’s pow’r When we were gone astray Oh tidings of comfort and joy Comfort and joy Oh tidings of comfort and joy
This year more than ever we may need to take comfort and joy in the birth of Christ. I would encourage us all to take the time for pause, reflect and rest in the presence of Christ.