“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”Philippians 4:4 (New Revised Standard Version)
In the wonderful Christmas anthem, “O Holy Night,” there is a line that masterfully captures how I feel this year. It says, “the weary world rejoices.” In the midst of so many things that are wearing us down this year – pandemic grief, suffering, and worry; economic struggles; political instability; psychological lethargy and despair; social discord; and spiritual disquiet – under the weight of so many things to burden our hearts and minds, this world is rightfully weary. We all can feel it.
The wonder is that, with all of that weighing us down, we will still be rejoicing. Not just being joyful, but re-joicing. Being joyful again and again. Exulting in joy! Taking a joy we have received and delighting in it afresh and anew. Re-joy-cing. That Joy, of course, is the Lord Jesus who comes to be our Savior. All of the troubles of this world added together cannot squelch the gladness that wells up when we realize that the God above it all chooses to enter into this world, full of trouble and weariness, with strength to deliver us, love to heal us, grace to save us forever.
I expect that many of us will experience Christmas in a deeper way this year, because the world is so weary. This year, the depth of our need will be more poignant; the truth of our vulnerability more obvious; the extent of our mutual dependence more compelling. We will be more prepared than most years to receive our Savior, who is Christ Jesus the Lord. The gladness that fills our souls at that reception will well up in the joy that does not fade away but keeps returning over and over again. We rejoice in the Lord, always. When the world is stable and steady, when the world is tossing and turning, when the world is worried and weary. The Lord is always God, our hope and our salvation.
May you be blessed with a truly Merry Christmas!