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the weary world rejoices

Twinkling lights, hot drinks, warm blankets, and seasonal parties galore are happening now as December has begun! I agree this is the most wonderful time of the year as the song goes, while it also can emphasize heartbreaks or loneliness more than other times of the year. I love the lyrics to the song, “O Holy Night,” especially the line that reads, “the weary world rejoices."

Ever felt lonely? Left out? Tired? Overwhelmed? Oppressed? You are definitely not alone! At the time of Jesus’s birth, God’s people, the Israelites had been waiting for the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. Over generations, they had experienced sin, repentance, judgment from God, exile, and God’s loving promise of a Savior. Despite cycles of serving other gods, God showed love and mercy by restoration and sending His Son to rescue us from our sin. They had waited a long time and some people may have wondered if the promise would be fulfilled.

I love history and wondering what these real people we read about in the Bible actually experienced. After the census was issued by Caesar Augustus, Joseph and Mary were required to travel to Bethlehem, which was about 90 miles. The Bible does not specify exactly how long it took them to travel, but we can estimate about one week. Poor Mary was at the end of her pregnancy, so I can imagine it was incredibly uncomfortable to walk so long. We do not know for sure if she had a donkey to ride or not. They also may have gone a little out of the way to avoid Samaria, since the cultures did not get along, which may have added time to the journey. These were real people experiencing all of this!

One still night, the brilliant star led some insignificant shepherds to a seemingly ordinary stable where a baby Boy was born among animals and laid on a bed of hay. This experience changed the world and the people born into it forever. Hope had come in a chubby-cheeked little baby. After the message from the angels, Joseph and Mary knew the significance of this precious Person born in the stillness of the night. Did they just sit in reverence and silence in that stable? Did they realize the prophecies from generations before had happened right there with them? The Savior would be born in the city of David and He was. The Savior would be from the line of David and he was.

The same hope Joseph and Mary experienced in the stable under the bright star so many years ago is the same hope we have today. No matter the “stuff” thrown our way, the heartache that happens, or the loneliness we feel, Jesus is the Savior of the world and He knows your name. I pray that you take the time each day during this Christmas season to reflect and remember how God loved us so much that He sent the Savior to us and became Immanuel or “God With Us.” Read closely the words to the famous carol “O Holy Night.” Talk to you soon!

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees,

O hear the angel voices

O night divine



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