A Weary World Rejoices
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
I’ve been thinking about the night Jesus was born – like using my imagination and trying to truly picture that night in my mind. I’ve given birth and I know all of the mess and pain and smell and fear and unknown that comes along with it. I picture the night being beyond dark, void, still, unknown and a bit eerie. A representation of the hearts of man and the state of the world. A world and a people that had been through so much. So many ups and downs and so many unmet promises. Like the promise of hope and peace – the promise of a Messiah. I imagine the darkness over the earth was palpable on that night.
Contrary to the artistic Christmas cards I’ve seen with a beautiful silhouette of Mary on a Donkey, Joseph walking along side her and a starry night sky that looks peaceful and still. I imagine exhaustion, hopelessness and heaviness. A heaviness that no one was exempt from. That is what I see when I think of the night Jesus was born and the world he was born into – dark, heavy, weary, much like our world right now.
The people of Israel had been waiting for over 400 years for their Messiah, their promised Savior to come. With each generation who lived in the unmet promise, they handed down their disappointment and discouragement to the generation that came after. Can you imagine the heaviness that was multiplied over 400 years? No wonder the world Jesus was born into was dark and hopeless! In a year when a day has felt like a week and a week like a month, 2020 has been like 5 years in 1 and the weariness has been multiplied daily.
On most days I say that in many ways we are carrying on with our life as usual. Sure we wear masks and aren’t gathering in groups, but we still go to the grocery store, walk on the beach, enjoy the company of a few friends outside… we are not shut up in a dark room all alone. Yet there is an undercurrent of fear and the unknown. It is in the air, in the atmosphere - this feeling of discontent. A feeling of being out of control and a profound sense of grief as promises are unresolved. Loss, in many different shapes and sizes, has flooded our souls and the impact is not to be minimized.
I picture the night that Jesus was born as the climax of that darkness and heaviness. No one was exempt from feeling it. 2020 has been a year that even in the midst of weddings and babies being born and sweet moments of joy, there is a heaviness that is impacting everyone. The weariness is in the air, in the atmosphere. And it has produced a longing in the hearts of man, much like the longing that was in the hearts of the people of Israel for 400 years. This longing for everything to be right, to be at peace, to be free and be safe. We have a longing to rest in a secured future without fear. We long to embrace and sit close to friends, many friends, and laugh and cry and share our expressions of life without being covered by a mask. There is a deep longing we are all experiencing, just as the people of Israel experienced.
Then, in a moment (well, us mothers know it doesn’t just happen in a moment! but…) something changes, a shift in the atmosphere, a release of burden, new life bursting forth and everything is forever changed. That tiny baby, busting into the darker than dark darkness, ushered in a light that the darkness could not overcome. He is called the Bright and Morning Star. Light of the World. In the moment of his birth, all of the darkness fled and the heaviness would be no more. A deep exhale groaned out of the lungs of Mary, but also out of the mouths of every living being. At last, at last the light has come and the promise has been fulfilled. “The weary world rejoices.”
Weary world. I don’t know about you, but I feel like that perfectly describes my world right now – weary! And if I ever needed, if we ever needed a reason to rejoice, it’s now. As I’ve been pondering the night Jesus was born, my imagination has painted a vivid picture and I’m struck by how similar the picture of that night is to the picture of the world today. We’re looking to a vaccine to fulfill our longing; but hasn’t this pandemic revealed a deeper longing and brokenness in each one of us that no shot will heal? Yes, the vaccine will help eliminate daily wearing masks, save more lives from perishing at the hand of COVID and allow us to once again gather in groups without fear, but will it take away all the heaviness? Will the vaccine drive away all the darkness that has been exposed in our world and in our own lives? Will the vaccine remedy the weariness and ache? I dare say not. But Jesus does.
We need a Savior.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
Thank you God that the light that broke through with the birth of your Son, is the same light that continues to cast out all darkness in our world today. Let us once again look to you to save us and usher in peace. You are our only hope. We are weary, but we rejoice because we are not alone. You are here with us, the Light of the World, Emmanuel.