22 Dec Advent Reflection | Tuesday, December 22
Today’s A Weary World Rejoices story comes from Sherri Swartz:
I don’t feel like writing a devotion. I’m not sure I even want to rejoice. I know I don’t want to pretend I’m rejoicing. And I certainly don’t want to add another “should” to my life and feel guilty I’m not rejoicing.
I’ve been weary of so many things for so long, I’ve become numb. Bad news just bounces off me. Sometimes I’m afraid to hope or try or care. I can’t be the only one experiencing that.
I’d rather weep with those who weep. At least this year no one can pretend everything is OK. Finally, a year where suffering during the holidays isn’t so lonely or hidden. But unfortunately, it is also a year when we’re robbed of the opportunity to weep with each other. No Blue Christmas service where we can cry together, and no one will be shocked and ask, “What’s wrong?”
Can’t we just take a Sabbath this year from the expectation to rejoice that rubs salt into so many wounds? Instead of trying to explain suffering with our theology, can we just read all of Matthew’s birth story without apology or embarrassment, and let those who are hopeless know they are not alone? “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great wailing. Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18, quoting Jeremiah 31:15
And then, when Christ breaks through with the tiniest bit of light, we will see Him. The light will shine in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[i] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”