Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
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.
Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew calls to mind a short story I recently read. It is called “A Fable with Slips of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets” by Kevin Brockmeier in his book The View from the Seventh Layer. In this short story, a working man buys a used overcoat from a thrift store and it turns out to be God’s overcoat. As he is walking home, he discovers a slip of paper in the pocket which says “Please help me figure out what to do about Albert”. We come to find throughout the story that he keeps finding papers in his pockets as he passes people or interacts with co-workers and friends. These slips of paper are the unspoken prayers of people. This man ultimately ends up finding thousands of slips of paper in his pockets. At one point, he has to leave a baseball game because pieces of paper begin spilling from his pockets. He has discovered a gift and a burden and even when he tries to get rid of the coat, he is unsuccessful.
It makes me want to imagine how God must feel about us. Here we are, getting ready for the birth of his Son who will say to us “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” I can just imagine Father and Son taking turns with the overcoat and being illuminated at the awesomeness of our prayers - being able to give us some kind of rest if just in our knowing that they are there to listen. And God loves us enough just to listen.
Every year during Advent, I try to spend a little more time with God. Rather than just uttering my prayers to God, I like to focus on having a conversation. It is a good time of year for that. Sometimes the conversation can be lengthy and even moves me to tears; sometimes it is simply a prayer; and sometimes it is a very heated and passionate discussion. As we make ready for the birth of His Son, we also make ready for experiencing a relationship that makes our burden light. Perhaps now is the time for us to have a lengthier conversation with God – not just a slip of paper with a prayer but time to discover the true meaning of what it means to be in relationship with God.
Susanne Chawszczewski, Ph.D.Director of Campus Ministry