You would expect this time to be filled with holiday joy. Christmas has been a time of celebration for centuries and we remember those times with joy.
This year may be a little different for many of us. We lived for the past year with a looming threat of pandemic doom. Fear was more or less a constant atmospheric condition. As the year went on, we heard more and more about people stricken by the virus. Maybe you felt the threat closing in on you. Perhaps you know someone who is or has been ill. You may even be grieving the loss of friends or family members who fell to the virus.
How can we reconcile our present fears and sorrows with the joy of Christ’s coming?
Consider this song written over a hundred years ago:
O heart bowed down with sorrow … Come unto me and I will give you rest! (F.E.Belden; Great Songs of the Church #163)
It is a song that brought great solace to those who suffered during the Spanish Flu pandemic, a time of fear and sorrow much like our own.
If we believe that Christ came to heal our souls and rescue us from our perilous lives, we can believe that he will give us rest. We celebrate and proclaim this belief publicly and privately at this time of year. Seek your joy in Jesus. He will make you glad.
If you are sad, who do you tell? Do you believe you need to tell someone? Sadness is corrosive. It eats away at our hearts. Left to do its work, it is deadly. You need to tell someone who can help you deal with your pain. Christ will soften the sadness in your heart. He will soothe the burning of sadness in your soul. Find the remedy for your heartache in Him. Why not approach Him with this good old song in mind:
I need thee every hour, in joy or pain; come quickly and abide, or life is vain. (Robert Lowry; GSC #91)
We all need Him every hour, and He is with us at all times. When we acknowledge to God our sadness and fear, we find comfort in the awareness of His presence and His participation in our lives, for our lives are His. He cares for us all the time, but most especially when we are drawn away from Him by fear and sorrow. He waits for us patiently, and He listens attentively for us to call to Him in hard times.
Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart, Draw me, my Savior, so precious Thou art. Fold me, O fold me, close to Thy breast; Shelter me safe in that haven of rest. (Please) Shelter me safe in that haven of rest! (C.H.Morris; GSC #449)
Dear Father, you know how quickly we get distracted by our own hardships, by the struggles of life in this stressful time of the pandemic, by the fears and worries we’re reminded of every day. You know what sorrows we endure. You know that our sadness and grief make us deaf and dumb with pain. Will you help us, Lord, to turn our eyes upon You? Will you help us to call upon you in these times of crushing pain and fear? We know you are our best hope of rescue, but we often forget. We think we are alone even though we are surrounded by a great throng of witnesses with a powerful champion leading them to meet the challenges we face. Will you take us into your sheltering arms and lift us in the light of your glory? Rock of Ages, I know you will! In Jesus’ name, Amen!