The Weary World Rejoices
I spent a portion of the last 24 hours sorting, wrapping, and delivering gifts to kids we know around the city, many of whom will receive little to nothing else this Christmas season. This work, made possible by so many friends’ and strangers’ generosity, leaves me humbled. The extra time allows me to reflect and pray. The heaviness of life, the pervasiveness of poverty compounded by the pandemic, and general hopelessness they experience brings me close to despair. This year has been wearisome, but I believe I would pen these words even if COVID-19, lockdowns, political division, etc. did not exist.
Our community has seen more hurt and despair than imaginable this year. Young children, gone “before their time.” Houses turned to silent funeral homes; grief intensified by social isolation. A local teen and key community member declared guilty before ever seeing trial. His life devalued by those who cowardly type hate from the safety of their own homes. Disruption, violence, abuse, trauma, illness, neglect, homelessness, and greed have left more figurative bodies than I can count.
I am weary. So weary. Lament is an all too familiar language. Entering advent, the weariness seemed ever-increasing as we mourned the loss of several pets withing two weeks and entered in yet another season of online church.
But yet, we rejoice. Often, in spite of our feelings and desires, we are compelled to joyously worship. Much like the people on the first Christmas, our weariness today is met with Hope. God in flesh, Immanuel, has come. Our anticipation, grief, and longing find their fulfilled meaning in the gospel. Our risen Savior is redeeming and restoring all things. We look to the day when all things will be made new.
Reflection and anticipation bring me back to the manger, back to the cross, and back to the empty tomb.
Someday, we will write all the good things our gracious God has given and done in these days. We will sing of His wondrous deeds with shouts and praises with joy. But I want to be able to sit and ponder the weariness. To know that I can worship in and through all because Jesus came to earth and He is alive today. God with us.
I purchased Advent, a thread in the night by E.M. Welcher this year on a whim. His words have pointed me back to Christ and have been a source of hope in this season. Below is the entry from today, December 24.
“O Come Let Us Adore Him,
Lord At His Birth.
Let the weary and bedraggled
Come in from the wastelands
Won’t He Do It?
Is He Not Faithful?
We Still Believe.
Yes, Even Now
The King is Arriving.
Will He Not Finish All of This?
He Is Still With Us.
Crucified Carpenter King,
Poem from: E.M. Welcher, Advent, a thread in the night, 2020, Dustlings Press.