By: Julie Cordodor
Originally published: December 19, 2022
Begin with 2 minutes of silence
Psalm 126 (NRSV)
1When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
4Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
5Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
6He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
The Christmas season can be complicated, can’t it? It amplifies happy memories and makes us excited to experience the joy all over again, but for those who are grieving, this season can amplify that, too. At Christmas it can feel especially hard to look back at what God has done even as we long for Him to do it again. To see what has been restored to others and wonder if it will be restored to us. To know what could be, but isn’t.
If we are grieving this Advent, may our aching hearts be encouraged that these tears are not wasted; our sorrow is not in vain. May we learn to weep through this night with the confidence that joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5) and hold fast to His words to Jeremiah about about His people: "...I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish." (Jeremiah 31:25, ESV) We are loved and cared for by the same God who spent much of the Bible restoring His people; returning what they had lost and restoring what the Enemy had taken. He is working tirelessly to do the same for us.
May we revel in Peter's words, that "...after [we] have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called [us] to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish [us].” (1 Peter 5:10, NRSV) This season we celebrate the birth of Jesus that set in motion God's ultimate plan to redeem sin, pain, and grief; to make all things new. I pray we will have eyes to see the ways He is doing it even now, in the midst of grief.
Questions for Reflection
In this season, how can I allow myself time to grieve without rushing through the pain? In what ways has God demonstrated that He is with me during this time of grief?
Lord, thank You that You are deeper than even my deepest grief. This Advent, please help me continue to trust that the joy and redemption Your birth promises is coming; please show me glimpses of it in the wonder and anticipation of this season. Thank You that You weep with me and that You restore me; I am truly never alone. In Your name, Amen.
End with 2 minutes of silence