This was the first major snowfall of the season. There had been a few that didn’t leave an accumulation, but this one was different.
I was attending a silent retreat and the blanket of snow seemed to also silence the land.
The sun appeared mid-afternoon, beckoning me to brave the cold and partake of the beautiful surroundings.
The only sound I could hear was the squeak of my boots on the snow. The pristine white surface sparkled with ice crystals looking like millions of pieces of glitter sprinkled before me.
I walked toward the evergreens dressed in their winter gowns.
The snow lay thick on the branches and I saw some weighed down by this heavy burden. Not only was this a photo op, it was also an analogy of life.
Too much of anything can weigh us down. A little guilt here, a touch of regret there and soon we are tired from our heavy load. We bow to the ground, unable to carry the burden. Without relief, we are in danger of breaking.
Jesus has promised to give us rest when we bring our burdens to him. First, we have to silence the noise in our minds. In the stillness will we be able to discern his voice and allow him to lighten our load.
When the sun shines on the tree branches the snow starts to fall away. In the same way, the Son of Man takes our worries, allowing us to stand straight and tall once again.
“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 GWT)
My husband and I have done some traveling lately. The airports we’ve visited have had many announcements concerning baggage.
We are warned not to leave it unattended. There are also cautions on arrival to make sure it’s your baggage you pick up. Many pieces of luggage are similar in appearance so this can sometimes be a challenge.
This rule from the airport is also valid in life. Each of us carries our own baggage. Sometimes it is small, like hand luggage. Other times the volume of hurts and regrets are too heavy to carry on our own. This over-sized baggage needs to be checked.
When I see someone with excess baggage I want to help them. Perhaps by lending a sympathetic ear the burden can be lightened. Although I may want to help carry the baggage of others I’ve learned that taking it on doesn’t help them or me. Similarly, no one else can carry the load that is dragging me down.
The most effective way I’ve found to deal with this is to give it to Jesus. Nothing is too big for him to handle. Spending time talking with him gives me the refreshment and perspective I need to live freely and lightly.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28 The Message)