A Weary World Rejoices: Finding Peace in the Here and Now

Today I started my Advent study for this Christmas season and as I was going through my first reading I noticed that it emphasized something for me that the Lord put on my heart some weeks ago.  I wanted to share it with you too.

"Out of the depths I call to you, Lord!
Lord, listen to my voice;
let your ears be attentive
to my cry for help.

Lord, if you kept an account of iniquities
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord; I wait
and put my hope in his word. 
I wait for the Lord 
more than the watchmen for the morning
more than the watchmen for the morning

Israel, put your hope in the Lord.
For there is faithful love with the Lord.
and with him is redemption in abundance.

And he will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities."

--Psalms 130:1-8

In my reading of the Psalms, verses 5 and 6 gave me pause.  David's longing is palpable, you can feel it in his repetition:

"I wait for the Lord 
more than the watchmen for the morning
more than the watchmen for the morning..."

Or maybe it has nothing to do with the repetition and everything to do with the fact that as readers we feel it too.  Down past our skin and into our bones.  We wait.  Sin hangs in the air like thick fog in the dead of winter and not one of us has escaped its reach.  One way or another it has clawed at us, gnashed its teeth at us.  It pushes onward until hearts are left utterly broken.  Oh God, sin is heavy and we groan in bearing it.

I have been reflecting for some time on the effects that sin has had on my own life and on those that I love dearly and I'm exhausted by it.  You see, we are laboring.

My son was born four months ago and his birth was unique because unlike the birth of my two girls my epidural failed to give its full effects.  Due to a skin condition that currently shows itself in bright red patches on my back, the anesthesiologist wasn't able to insert the catheter in the ideal location on my spine.  Instead of the midway point of my back he had to insert it an inch or two higher.  Because of this I felt the majority of the numbness from my belly button up.  Although it did help to alleviate most of my contractions for the first time in all three of my birthing experiences I could actually feel my legs.  This was a terrifying idea to me because I knew that eventually, I was going to have to push.

And oh did that time come!  The doctor came in and as I braced myself to begin the task of pushing, my whole body started to shake in fear because I knew the worst of the pain was coming.  I felt every bit of that pain.  I remember looking up at my husband saying: "I can't do this, I just need him here, I just need him here!" I didn't want to go through the process but there is no way around it, you just have to keep going.

And then, just like that, he was here.  

This exhausted mamma reached out and they handed me my son.  This is what the pain was for.  My brown eyed boy with a head full of hair was finally in my arms and joy enveloped me.  Even though it wasn't my intention, I am so glad that God somehow pushed me to go through that experience because I was able to feel His strength in a whole new way.  He gave me a certain peace through each gut wrenching wave of pain and saw me through to the joy.  Listen, as women our bodies are designed to do miraculous things but we don't do it on our own.  If you have ever given birth you know that.  It is so indescribably painful that it requires an act of the Divine.

It's a woman's labor that Paul parallels in the book of Romans when he talks about our wait for Christ's return.  It's a spiritual labor but the tribulation the same.  The pain of sin is often unbearable but even as it threatens to leave us breathless we remember the Christmas Story, an act of the Divine.  We remember to look up and set eyes on a star lingering brightly over a babe in a manger.  Hope has arrived.

a weary world rejoices. 

It's my absolute favorite line of the classic hymn because it reminds me that while we wipe sweat from our brow, that baby grew into a Man who reached to His own brow and not sweat but blood came away.  However tired we are, however rung dry, Christ surpassed it.  Christ suffered greater and the marvel is that He gave Himself up to that suffering.  All so that we, who were born into sin could be born again into freedom, freedom for the future and for here and now.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says this:

"Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Sin is no rival of Christ and as we fall at His feet He is able to lift each burden with ease.  Weary world, rejoice because there is a Spirit of peace given amidst the chaos and it is enough to see you through to a kingdom age swiftly coming.  Because just as relief comes to a woman who has labored hard to see her child so it will come to a world who has labored hard to see its Christ.

Let's take hold of that peace and press on a little longer until we see the work of Christ complete.  Once the good fight has been fought to its finish, it all will have been worth it.