One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is Oh Holy Night. The words, the build-up, the music itself – it goes right to my heart. I’ve been fond of it even since I was small.
As a child, I couldn’t have comprehended the holiness of that night. The Bible stories as told to children tend to focus on the pomp and circumstance, the manger, the star… that inn-keeper that said he had no room. Those are the details I remember.
Many years later in my wise-old-age I hear these words over and again in my head…
The weary world rejoices…
It has only been in the past few years and even more so now that I can understand the weariness of this world. A world so broken, pain filled and craving a hope that there must be more.
In this year we’ve walked through our own story that at times felt like a valley. We’ve seen friends walk through loss that I cannot even imagine.
My heart has broken in many pieces as I’ve watched a close childhood family lose their father, husband, grandfather, friend. And just this week as another close family has lost their wife, mother, caregiver, angel. Mothers and fathers that have buried children. Marriages have come to surprising ends.
I find myself feeling a heaviness this Christmas, the weight of grief for those who would give anything for one more day, one more touch, one more hug or just one more chance.
I’ve spent much of my life doing anything I can to avoid pain, not just my own but others’ as well. But I’ve been invited to be fully human, experiencing the pain and loss that life holds. As I’ve allowed myself to enter pain and walk with others I find my prayer more and more being, Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel. Lord be present, Lord be comfort, Lord be peace in the midst of these broken dreams and loss of life.
Friends, I have been humbled as you have walked with us through our story of foster and adoption, the ups and downs of our life. I want you to know that I consider it a privilege to be a part of your lives as well. I pray earnestly for peace and comfort for those of you that have an empty seat this year at Christmas, those that this is not your first Christmas following loss but your heart hurts no less. My eyes have filled with tears many times as I have considered your stories, the courage you carry, the grief you’ve walked through and continue to embrace. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may you experience his peace that is beyond our comprehension. And remember…
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
As we celebrate the season of Advent and the fulfillment of hope on Christmas Day let us remember it doesn’t end there. May we remain in wondrous anticipation of the day when all tears are wiped away and the weary world rejoices, once and for all.