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December 6, 2023, Third day of Advent


For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30

For us folks living in the 21st Century, the concept of being “yoked” is not something we really understand. Many of us might think “yoked” is what happens to a darkened house on Halloween. But that is not what Jesus is talking about. Jesus is talking about the “yoke” that bound two oxen together so the oxen could jointly pull a plow through a farmer’s field. One ox alone could not do it. It took two to pull the plow. Understanding that, how do we interpret Jesus’ words here? We need to read the full passage.

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, andlearn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

This is Jesus’ offer to share our life’s burdens with him. The ones we can’t manage on our own. The ones that are heavy and wear us out. What might those look like? Anxiety in the United States is at an all-time high. We are overwhelmed with demands for out time and treasure and talents. We are exhausted by the responsibilities of caring for our families while wondering who is going to take care of us when the time comes. And society keeps telling us there are not enough resources to meet our needs. It really was no different in Jesus’ day. Jesus lived in a country occupied by Rome. The people were taxed by unscrupulous “collectors”. Survival was a day-to-day task at the mercy of the weather and where the fish were. It makes me tired thinking about it.  Jesus knows that and says something like this:

“You have a lot on your plate. Actually, that plate looks more like a platter. Maybe a palette. Let me give you a hand with it. We can use these carrying straps I brought. They’re not quite a forklift, but with both of us together, we can ease your burden.”

So, what is going on in your life that is a heavy burden and wearing you out? Jesus can help you with that. He does not promise to make it all go away, but Jesus does say he will give you a hand.

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