…A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…
I hope that your home was filled with love and joy and laughter this Christmas season.
This was perhaps one of the weirdest Christmases in recent memory for me. For one, I’ve not celebrated Christmas on the 25th of December in two years. That coupled with the beautiful, perfect 80 degree weather we’re enjoying in Miami, I have to admit, it scantly feels like Christmas. Heck, I didn’t even have my annual skype chat with the fam (due to computer errors in TX).
Though I was flying solo this Christmas, I did attend a midnight Christmas Eve service at Coral Gables FUMC. There was promise of a candlelight service with a brass quartet and that organ…..mmmmmmm that organ. It was a perfectly lovely service during which my brain was just so full. More than once my brain almost spilled out as tears from my eyes as I evaluated the state of this world…of my life.
Being the solid person I am, I do not cry in public, I swallowed it down and enjoyed the service. There was a point where the pastor of this church, the very fun Durwood Foshee, sang O Holy Night with the choir. It is a fact that this is my second favorite Christmas hymn, and I posted about it a couple of years ago to boot.
Where I was in that moment, and what I’ve held onto since, was the phrase “a weary world.”
A weary world. Boy am I weary. Boy isn’t this world so weary? War and disease, institutionalized racism, famine, slavery, ignorance, indifference, murders, violence, and all kinds of crap. There is so much hatred and waste in this world, and we are weary.
I am weary.
It’s stupid I know, my dad tells me all the time about how I have the perfect kind of job, and that I live in the perfect kind of place, and yet I am weary. I was recently at a conference during which Amy Oden from St. Paul Theological spoke a couple of times. She talked a bit about her journey back to Oklahoma, after a time at Wesley Theological. She described going back to OK as going to a place where she found God under the vast blue skies. Having lived in OK for a time, I know those skies well. I’ve thought a lot about this comment too, and there are geographical locations where I too have found God. Places that I am not longer near, and I find that the longer I am from either one of them I find myself becoming more weary.
I so deeply miss Ukraine, a place where I discovered God, real and alive with robust humor and love. I also deeply miss South Carolina. I didn’t realize it until my last visit home, while itinerating at Grace Community UMC. SC is my home with my people. It is the place where I heard and answered a call from God, where I grew up and found myself.
In these places where I find and have found God, I sometimes feel as though God is so absent for me Miami, and I am weary. It’s almost as if I left God in Ukraine or SC, and with Her I left huge pieces of me. I have greatly struggled rediscovering God’s presence and who I am in Miami, and I am weary.
I look at the state of this world, and I realize, I am certainly not the only one. This world is weary and broken and hurting, and it totally sucks. The thing is, since the introduction of sin, this world has always been broken and hurting and weary. I was reading Isaiah last night, and even in this prophecy the world was all jacked up. In our disobedience, in our lust and greed and indifference this world is made more broken.
But hark! this is not where the song stops. This is not the end of the story. For unto YOU a child is born. Bringing with him hope and light and love and joy and grace and salvation (I know that there should be commas there, but I like the ands). For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Jesus came so that we may be reconciled to Godself even in the midst of muck of this life. For those who are weary, for me for maybe you, take heart it’s not the end of the song. Those who seek God shall find Him, and those who love God bring God’s light with them and shine it in the weary places to bring healing.
For this new year, I pray that you and I and us and we all discover God anew in places familiar and unfamiliar so that we may bring some relief to this weary world.