“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.”
As festive and joyful as Christmas time can be, I am also reminded of the shadow side of this time. The ‘blue Christmas’ effect of being sad or grieving or just ‘blue’ is a reality for some as well. For some, these special days can be reminders of those not here, life changes such as divorce or job loss or even those medical diagnosis that makes the future less bright. And for many, going out into the world, the sowing of seeds where you may not see the harvest, is tear-producing indeed. Yet, we are reminded through those tears, those dark nights, to hold tightly to the dream, the hope found in Christ Jesus.
In Psalm 126, we acknowledge the journey, the reaping and returning home is not without the tears and sorrow but also unexpectedly, joy. Joy may come in small, flickering candlelight in the darkest of nights. Joy may come in surprising ways, and we must be vigilant in seeking it. May we also be attentive this Advent season so that we may be a source of joy for another just about to sow tears. Yet, we must also be willing to accept that care from others when we’ve been weeping.
O Lord of tears and sorrow, joy, and hope, we hold both in this season. May we be patient in the waiting for the true joy of Christmas to appear. May we be persistent in the waiting for the weeping and tears we have sown to truly bring forth a bounteous harvest. May we cherish the memories of Christmas past and yet present in the small joys of today. May your Comforter, the Holy Spirit, truly sustain us and be of comfort in this blue season. Amen.