Today’s Advent Reading:
USCCB — December 9th

As we await baby Jesus during Advent, we are reminded that, for two millennia, our earthly world has been in a constant state of awaiting His return and the reunification of Heaven and Earth. Our world and our lives are broken, but fortunately, today’s readings remind us that we do not have to wait that long for God’s healing to make its presence known in our lives. Not only does he provide healers for us, but he also gives us the wonderful opportunity of being sent out into the harvest to heal his sheep.

“How pleasant and fitting to praise our God! He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds; He sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground” (Psalm 147:1,3). No matter the magnitude, depth, or nuance of our pain, God is able and willing to fix it. We are never meant to feel alone or misunderstood in our struggles. God’s understanding has no limits! None! He knows how you are feeling, and most importantly, he knows how it ends.

Finals, papers, and projects can feel like they are driving you into the ground. Maintaining your relationships will be hard when your other commitments feel more pressing, or when everyone is anxious and testy. You will need help. I am not talking about going to your TF’s office hours or to a study session, but to God. Even the rocks cry out; so should you. Pray for endurance, strength, rest, memory, wisdom, and high spirits. Pray for help. He knows what you need, even when you do not, and “as soon as he hears, he will answer you” (Isaiah 31:19).

In Matthew 9-10, Jesus is preaching before a large crowd. And “he has compassion on them, because they are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). In light of Jesus’ compassion, Matthew 10:2 is very clear. He says, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” The crowds to whom Jesus preaches are the harvest, and most importantly, they are those of us in need of healing. The workers are those that God uses to bring healing to us, his sheep. Jesus says to ask God to send out more workers, and he then gives his disciples, the workers, the authority to bring healing and drive out impure spirits. He sends the worker-disciples to the “lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 10:8a).

So, are we the workers or the helpless and harassed sheep?

I think we are called to be both, at different points in our lives. Jesus tells the disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b). This means firstly that there is no shame in being a sheep and receiving help, as Jesus’ own disciples needed, called for, and received God’s help. Secondly, Jesus’ proclamation means that we also get to go out into the world and give back. We get to, and are expected to, become the harvest workers and bring healing to the lost sheep of Israel.

This Advent, whether you are struggling through finals or finding it difficult to adjust back to life at home, cry out for God’s wondrous love and healing. Freely you will receive it. When you see your friends struggling and hurting, freely show them God’s love and healing, also.

Lily Gulledge ’21 is a freshman in Weld Hall.