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Rest for the weary
Amber Albee Swenson
by Amber Albee Swenson
November 30, 2020

The year 2020 has been wearisome. I don’t know that I’ve gotten more or less sleep, but politics and the pandemic have left me weary often. I feel the tension between the anticipated perfection of heaven and the promised trouble of earth more than I have most years. When a friend posted a quote from the movie the Green Mile, it seemed to say what I’ve felt.

I’m tired, Boss. I’m tired of people being ugly to each other. I’m tired of all the pain I feel and hear in the world every day. There’s too much of it.

I imagine Mary might have been a little weary in the weeks before Jesus’ birth. The census issued by Caesar Augustus meant a journey that would be grueling to anyone, more so to a woman nine months pregnant. Then to arrive in Bethlehem and not be able to find a place to stay while feeling the pains of labor. Weary might be an understatement!

Jesus came to earth to experience our weariness. As a child, he no doubt wearied of having to remind a human mother of his needs. As a teacher, he wearied of his disciples’ lack of faith. As a miraculous provider, how could he not weary of people who misunderstood that food was only the means of showing them he would save them from so much more than hunger?

And having experienced our weariness, he offered an invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

If this year has created a longing you struggle to fill, look to Jesus. The night he was born the angels sang of peace, a peace the apostle Paul would later describe as surpassing human understanding. It’s peace that despite the craziness and despite the ugliness, Jesus defeated our greatest enemies and provided for our greatest need. Our real enemies are not those of a different political persuasion or ideology on COVID. The triple threat of sin, death, and the devil create the deepest weariness in consequences, pain of separation, and the destruction of relationships.

Jesus triumphed and has power to overcome whatever weariness we face. Are you struggling with sickness or disease? “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases’” (Matthew 8:16,17).

Are you dealing with financial problems? “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Are you lonely, disenchanted, overwhelmed with a broken relationship? “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20,21).

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, know that you don’t have to bear the weariness. Jesus bore it, crushed it, and raised victorious from it. Let Jesus carry what you can’t. He will do it gladly.