“A thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices.”
One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs. “O Holy Night.” It says perfectly what this season represents for so many of us: hope that our Savior was born so long ago to bring us forgiveness and salvation. Certainly reason for rejoicing! I also love the picture it gives me of bringing my weary soul to Jesus after all the busyness of my past year. But sometimes we have to fight for that, you know? Sometimes it actually takes an awful lot of effort to use this season as a chance to refocus my heart on Jesus.
December is busy! And, all the rest of life keeps charging ahead right along with all the holiday festivities! Maybe you’re dealing with sickness or family disputes. Perhaps money is super tight or you’re trying to help your child as they go through a difficult season. It doesn’t all stop just because we’re trying to celebrate Christmas. Do you know what I mean? Can you relate?
And so, when I heard this carol playing the other day, I realized that I could make it a prayer for this time of year. That I could use it as an opportunity to ask God to bring me out of my weariness and into rejoicing. Over and over again lately I’ve been reminded that my relationship with God is not dependent upon my circumstances. Sure, it’d be nice to not have anything weighing on me when I soak up the beauty of Christmas, but that’s really not the message of the Nativity is it? Mary and Joseph had all the world weighing on them as they searched for a place to stay; and they found a stable. Not exactly ideal Christmas ambiance (and yes, I know Jesus wasn’t really born on Christmas day, but I’m talking about it in the sense of the season in which we choose to remember his birth). Perhaps it wasn’t exactly peaceful or comfortable. Hmmm… whose Christmas does that sound like? Anyone with me? Cause it sounds an awful lot like mine.
Maybe you’re like me, and everything else seems louder than Christmas right now. All the needs and burdens and heartaches are clanging around in your head and you wonder how you might quiet them just enough to hear the whisper of Christ’s presence. I’ve noticed for me that when life gets super chaotic it becomes even harder for me to find God’s voice in the midst of it all. I’ve found that the more I focus on all that’s going on around me and how overwhelmed I feel, the greater the fight is to make time to meet my Creator. Does that happen to you? Do you have to remind yourself, like I do, to take time to pray, to read your Bible, to listen for God’s voice? I know I do. And, how crazy that it seems even more so at Christmastime?!!!
This beautiful season that’s purposed to help us remember Christ’s sacrifice and love, often gets drowned out by our own chaos and stress. I know I get wrapped up in the need to make everything perfect this time of the year, and then when there’s other burdens as well, it can feel as though you’re barely surviving the season. Not to say it isn’t fun and great. I love seeing my kiddos opening their gifts and having time with our family and friends. Of course part of the beauty of this season is making the moments special and memorable. But, there’s always more going on behind the scenes. Every family has a story, and as I mentioned earlier, there may be lots of pain coinciding with the celebrations.
So, how do we find the peace? How do we find Christ in the midst of it all? How do we make it special even when life is throwing stress and difficulty our way? Maybe we find our way through by allowing imperfection and fragility. After all, the carol says that “The weary world rejoices.” When I think about what that means for me, I think of the fact that a weary world was able to rejoice, because Christ came down as a baby and set out to do what no man could do… to save our souls. He came to give us the strength we were lacking; to give us life when we couldn’t give it to ourselves. And so, I can enter into the realness of Christmas by remembering that I am allowed to be weary, because Christ came to bring the strength I need. Just like the Bible says in Psalm 46:1 (AMP version): “God is our refuge and strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble.” That’s why the weary world rejoices! We rejoice because God says He knows we are tired and can’t do it on our own. That’s why He did it for us; why He continues to do it for us. He is our strength when we have none. He offers His comfort when we are overcome with burdens. He brings His peace when stress is loud. He extends His grace when we have mess up. He speaks His love when we need renewed. That’s Christmas: When we were too weak, He was strong enough to save the entire world.
So please, don’t add remembering Christ’s birth on your to-do list for the holidays. What if instead we carry it with us through every aspect of this season. Through the stress, through the beauty, through the busyness and through all the moments both good and bad. After all, the message of this season isn’t perfection. Rather it’s imperfection given another chance by a perfect God!
Whatever the Christmas season looks like for you this year I pray that you will be able to remember God’s goodness. That you’ll be able to remember He readily greets your weariness. In fact, if we give Him the chance, I think He just may turn that weariness into joy. Maybe not the typical joy we think of around this season, because life may be full of a lot that doesn’t make you feel very happy or peaceful. But, He’ll fill you with the true joy that comes from realizing we are saved and loved by our heavenly Father! We have a God, who came down to earth to make assurance that we could always have a relationship with him. That’s the rejoicing He brings. It lasts far longer than any season could and is far more powerful than the most weary of souls.
Merry Christmas, friends.