4 Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. 2 And I commended the dead, who have already died, more than the living, who are still alive, 3 but better than both is the one who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person’s envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.
5 Fools fold their hands and consume their own flesh.
6 Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil
and a chasing after wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling,” they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other, but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would probably agree that even in the “jolly holiday” season, there are moments when tears flow. Oppression occurs, and hardships seem to come at a variety of times. But with the coming of our Lord and Savior in human flesh, we are also reminded that we can be the ones to bring hope to others. As we live out the love of Christ in our presence with others in their difficulties, we can help wipe away their tears. “For if one falls, the other can lift them up.”
God of tears and laughter, help my presence be the present I give this season to someone who is feeling more sadness than joy. Let this be my gift as a follower of my Lord and Savior, Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.