Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of O Holy Night? Like really listened?
Maybe I had never truly listened before or maybe I have not had this heavy feeling of weary at the holidays before, but when I heard O Holy Night this week, the lyrics shook me.
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices-O Holy Night
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn
We, as humanity, are coming at the Christmas season weary.
I do not know what your personal struggles may be at the season, but I know enough to know that you have them.
Typically, I do not like to list out my current struggles because in a lot of ways I feel as though then I am comparing my struggles to yours and thus diminishing either of our hards. Hard is hard is hard.
But in an effort to be vulnerable and also to show you the stature I had when I heard O Holy Night, you should know what has led up in my little family’s life to understand this moment:
My father-in-law passed away from a series of medical issues, on November 8th after spending two weeks in the ICU with his two sons and wife by his side. My spouse and his brother then came home to help us tell our respective children that Grandpa had passed away and then they packed up to go support their mom for a few days. While they were together grieving, they were exposed to Covid. After a week, my husband came home and went into isolation in our home, thus taking over our master bedroom and putting me on the couch, unable to hug my grieving husband. While in isolation, my husband developed Covid from his exposure. Thanksgiving came and our three kids and I did not get to spend the day with our favorite human. Also, let us remember, Grandpa also is not celebrating Thanksgiving with us…and neither is Grandma, who is alone now. During this time, another family member who was close to the grieving process of my husband’s father was hospitalized with Covid. Oh and also, we had to switch to distance learning because Covid is running rampant here and I am both a parent of students in distance learning and a teacher. So, everything is a lot.
Heavy. Hurt. and then I heard the lyrics.
the weary world rejoicesO Holy Night
And finally, I had a word for all that I have been feeling: weary.
So many of us are weary right now. You may be weary from employment issues, social unrest issues, equality issues, addiction issues, fertility issues, health issues, money issues, parenting issues, pandemic issues, life issues.
The crazy thing that makes me pause is that all these issues, accept for pandemic issues, were present in life before the pandemic began. However, right now, we as humanity are feeling one massive issue collectively, on top of all other life issues that have always been there. This has the opportunity to draw us together because we can all feel the collective heaviness that is right now. We collectively are weary.
We are a weary world but we have reason to rejoice.
Life is hard. Life between the two gardens is hard. It just is. Sin -not your individual sin so keep reading. I am not blaming any one person.- But sin entered the world in chapter three of the first book of the Bible. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible and it only takes three chapters of it for us to have sin enter the world. Chapters one and two tell us how God had this plan as He created creation and it was all good. All good. There was no death, no shame, no anger, no need, no jealousy, no suffering. It was all good. Then sin entered the world and it is just the pits after that until we enter the other garden, which is Heaven.
So here we are, between two gardens, living in a hot mess of the world and we are weary. This year we can feel the weariness. But, we have reason to rejoice. Rejoice because this is so not how it is supposed to be and one day, it won’t be. It just won’t be.
The lyrics go on to say:
He knows our need, to our weaknesses no strangerO Holy Night
Yes! He knows our need. Oh my word, does He know our need and our weaknesses. He knows it all and fierecely loves us anyways. That is reason to rejoice.
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.O Holy Night
Love. Peace. Joy.
These are amazing reasons to rejoice. As you read God’s word, you see the theme of love, peace, and joy written all over it. It is not the condemnation that many feel religion brings. No, faith is not the laws, but rather the grace by faith.
This season is a season of joy because our savior has come and He will deliver us from this weary, weary place. It was never supposed to be this way. He can bring us peace. He wants us to show love and we are so deeply loved by Him.
So as we walk in the heavy, we have hope. So much hope. We can rejoice as we will not be in this ick forever.
And, there is some Earthy peace in knowing that this weariness is not something that is unique to our current human experience in 2020. Almost 200 years ago, a man, Adolphe Adam, felt this weariness in 1847, as he composed O Holy Night and turned his hope to Jesus.