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Michael J. O’LoughlinDecember 13, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for the Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

You can find today’s readings here.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

What a gift is this line from Matthew’s Gospel, coming to us less than two weeks before Christmas.

If your Advent has been anything like mine, perhaps you’re feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, finding that you relate more to Charlie Brown’s glumness even though you prefer to emulate Linus’s limitless optimism. That’s if you’ve had time to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at all.

Getting ready for the holidays can be a hassle. Adding those seasonal tasks to an already demanding schedule can make it all the worse,and stepping back to consider how trivial my burdens are compared to what I read in the news adds another level of weariness. Am I really that self-absorbed? Maybe. But I am definitely tired. Lots of us are.

That’s why when I was hurriedly reading today’s scripture, I suddenly paused when I arrived at this verse: “I will give you rest.”

With just a couple of handfuls of days left until Christmas, I will try to focus on this promise of rest.

A few months ago, I followed a sort of self-help/life-coach/wellness-guru type account on Instagram, after the algorithm showed me a clip of this person telling his followers to pause, take a deep breath and try to let go of some stress. It actually worked! At least for a few seconds.

I experienced the same sensation when reading today’s Gospel.

I took a deep breath. Unclenched my jaw. And remembered that while the burdensome tasks of everyday life are indeed, well, burdensome, they shouldn’t eat up all of my energy.

With just a couple of handfuls of days left until Christmas, I will try to focus on this promise of rest. There are still many tasks to attend to, but those tasks are not the point. Instead, it is the promise of peace during this season of light.

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