the weary world rejoices || 12.21.20

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

 


This year, I think we've all found ourselves praying for light.

It's been a year uniquely marked by darkness, to the point where I think that in the sheer magnitude of the year, it's become difficult to know what exactly to pray for. So, more often than not, I've found myself just praying for something good. For any stray bit of light to pierce through the mess of it all.

And if I'm being honest - it's a prayer that hasn't always felt answered. The months have dragged on and things haven't gotten any better and suddenly we're nearing the end of this chaotic tangle of a year, the holidays are here, and I'm still a little shell-shocked from it all.

The world is heavy, and burnout is as prevalent as peppermint these days, but when I look out my window at night, I still see Christmas lights. Carols play on the radio, and churches tell the tale of a virgin who gave birth to a miracle. 

Despite it all, the weary world rejoices.

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Every year during the holidays, I always seem to find myself with a single song lyric running through my brain on repeat, a pattern that's kind of fun to look back on when I scroll through old Christmas musings. Those four little words have been this year's refrain as I stumble through the season, in all of its strange, sacred simplicity.

I don't think I've ever felt as detached stepping into the holiday season as I did this year. It's one of my favorite parts of the whole year, a season of warmth and life, one of the holiest times of the year. And yet it was as though I couldn't wake myself up to it, like my brain knew it mattered but I couldn't make it click. I was excited for the season, excited for traditions and rest and family, but rejoicing felt so far away.

I've been going through Hannah Brencher's Advent study, and was reminded of something that I read last year - that the first prophesy of Jesus's birth came at a time of massive darkness in Israel. The people had once again turned from God, and their world was a chaotic mess.

Sound familiar?

Yet right in the middle of the chaos, God sent them a promise of hope. The promise of a light that would come to illuminate the darkness. It didn't come in their lifetime - it didn't come for another 700 years, in fact. But it came, and it changed the world forever. He changed the world forever.

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As I'm writing these words, it's Monday, December 21st. Today is the winter solstice - the first day of winter, and the darkest day of the year. The days have been growing shorter and shorter since June, culminating today, the shortest day of the year. Light showed up late and went down early, and as I'm pecking away at my keyboard, all that I can see when I try to look out my window is darkness. 

Today also marked the appearance of what many people are referring to as "The Star of Bethlehem". Jupiter and Saturn met in the night sky in what looks like a brilliant, beautiful star, a sight that hasn't been seen in around 800 years. Some people call it the Christmas star, saying it might be similar to the star that the Magi saw, the star that led them to their Savior. 

A little after sundown, while the soup still simmered on the stove, my mom and I bundled up and trekked up the hilly streets of our neighborhood to get a look at this star. And as we walked, I couldn't help but be struck by the fact that here we were, the week of Christmas, on the darkest day of what has been the darkest year of many people's lives, heading through the cool night air to catch a glimpse of the light. That of all days for this star to appear, of all years, it was tonight. 

It wasn't at all what I had in mind when I prayed for light time and time again. But there it was, a speck in the night sky above me, laced with color and shining clear as could be. And I couldn't help but think that it was a promise, this light piercing the dark. That it was a reminder that hope holds true yet. 

It's like they say in the song - a thrill of hope. You know the feeling - a butterfly flutter in your chest that maybe there's more. Maybe there's better. Maybe it's almost here. 

Over 2000 years ago, we were given the greatest hope of all. And that hope is something that no circumstance, no year, no darkness can ever triumph. 

This year has left me weary, but I want to be rejoicing all the same, because my God is still on His throne. And maybe this season is different. Maybe we're different, because seasons of challenge do that to us. They change us. They grow us and shape us and shift us, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worst. 

But I want to rejoice in the chaos because I know that He is still good. I want to be able to look back at this year and say, "I can count my bruises, but I can also count the goodness of my Father." 

I don't know what the holidays hold for you this year. I know that things are probably different, and I know that's never easy. But I also know that on the darkest night of the darkest year, the sky was pierced by a light, and I have to hope that light is going to pierce our darkness, too. 

So we sing, and we share, and we sit by the fire. And with all of the weariness in our bones, we rejoice, because light has still won. He has still come. And His hope will never fail. 

2 comments:

  1. Wow, I love this. It totally encapsulates how my Christmas season felt this year. I wish I'd read this right after you posted it. Beautiful.

    Where I lived, it was cloudy on the 21st, so we didn't get the chance to see the star til the next night when they had separated, but even that was bright and beautiful.

    Thank you for these words, they really resonate with 2020.

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  2. Your words always resound within me and describe my thoughts so perfectly, Grace Anne. And I know I'm getting to this a month late, but time isn't real and these words still apply. Love you, friend.

    Hanne || losingthebusyness.wordpress.com

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