The Weary World Rejoices
For many people, the Christmas season is far from enjoyable. In a world stricken with pandemics, natural disasters, war, grief, abuse, infertility, suicide, financial crises, and so much suffering, it’s hard to see why we should rejoice this week at all. Afterall, there’s still a war going on overseas, inflation is still at an all time high, and injustice seems to be a part of every headline. Some days our country - and our world - feels like it’s ripping apart at the seams.
We’re angry. We’re hurting. We’re weary.
And we’ve been weary for a long time. In fact, all of creation is groaning under the weight of this fallen world. So no, it’s not just you this holiday season feeling behind, exhausted, and weak.
And yet, it was into this weariness that Christ came. Into this darkness, this chaos, this unjust, empty, hurting world that Christ was born. And all of history had been waiting a long time for his first arrival.
Prophets of old told of a coming King, a coming Savior, who would free the enslaved, open the eyes of the blind, and release the prisoner. The priest Zechariah was talking about the coming Christ when he said that “because of the tender mercy of our God… the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:76-79). Long before Zechariah, Isaiah prophesied that Christ, when he came, “will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth” (Isaiah 42:4). In a world that was weary from war, affliction, and oppression, Christ was born to a vulnerable young woman. And instead of destroying all of Isrealite’s enemies like some hoped he would, he laid down his power and gently welcomed all who would come to him.
We can rejoice this week because He came.
To carry our burdens.
To heal our diseases.
To forgive our sins.
To reconcile a lost world.
To comfort the grieving.
To heal the hurting.
To give light in the darkness.
To render justice to the oppressed.
To provide hope for the hopeless.
Sometimes this world can feel so dark that we can’t find the light.
Sometimes the depression gets so heavy that doubt sows seeds of disbelief, even (or especially) in the Christmas season.
Sometimes we know what is true, but we don’t feel what is true.
The good news for you today is that while Christ’s sacrifice defeated death all those many years ago, his plan of redemption is still unfolding. His Kingdom is here, and it is coming.
This Christmas, we celebrate that Christ came to us, so that we could come to him.
For those of you that feel joy this season - celebrate. Don’t hold back! Rejoice that Christ came for you! Sing the songs, give the gifts, decorate the cookies! This is a season of feasting and celebrating all that Christ has done for you. The Sunrise has visited us!
And for those who still struggle to feel the joy of the season, don’t despair. Feelings come and go, but the truth stands forever. Grieve in hope today - it’s a reminder that you were made for a perfect world, not a fallen one. Christ came for you, and he is coming again. The sun has risen, and it will continue to rise - day after day - until the day he returns. In that sense, there is joy, even in the darkness.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”
Mikayla Bugh, LPC