Today the Church presents to us one of the gospel’s most familiar passages. “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 … For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
In this passage, Jesus uses what would have been a very familiar image to people living in an agricultural society. A yoke was the wooden beam placed on the shoulders of two oxen binding them together. It helped to coordinate their efforts so they could more easily carry their load. This is a perfect image for us as we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s birth.
The humanity of Jesus Christ binds God and humanity together. Yes, Jesus Christ yokes us to God! As such, Jesus Christ helps to coordinate our efforts so that we can more easily carry our load. Imagine this image for a moment. Two oxen bound together carry a load, but one ox is very large and strong while the other is small and weak. Who does all the work? The large strong one of course. That’s our reality with Jesus. As long as we are united to him, He does the lion share of the work! But that’s the key. We must remain yoked to Christ because “apart from Jesus you can do nothing” (Cf. John 15:5).
As Christmas approaches, perhaps the best gift we can give God is to be grateful for such a wonderful, beautiful yoke. Indeed, St. Teresa of Avila asked all of her houses to keep a nativity scene set up all year long so that her nuns could keep this reality ever before eyes and their hearts.
–Steve Bollman, Founder of The Choice Wine: 7 Steps to a Superabundant Marriage.