It is interesting that while we are far away from all things “Christmas-y,” (cold weather, carols, crowded malls, and parties with family and friends), I have never had another Christmas that has been more focused on Christ. The reason for this is because this holiday season has been filled with new-founded sorrows that only Jesus can remedy.
To Those Under Life’s Crushing Load…
Oftentimes I will go on a walk in the evenings and I pass many women who are on their way back from their fields. They are carrying baskets on their backs that are filled with wood they will use to build their evening fire and the crops that will soon become their dinners. These baskets are so heavy that on one occasion, I tried to pick one up and I could barely lift it off the ground. And these women walk with these baskets for miles each day, in rags, in flip flops, many of whom are suffering from hernias or other diseases.
I could not help but to think of these neighbors when our family sang the popular Christmas Carol “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” the other evening. I would dare say that in a mysterious way, this song must have been written for the frail women who I see day in and day out walking “beneath life’s crushing load.”
So, to those whose bodies are bent down due to lives of labor, my prayer that they could one day rest beside the weary roads and hear the angels sing that that the Savior has come. And that he will one day come again and make a new world where there will be no more slow painful steps, no more bodies bent over, no more laboring to survive. This famous carol expresses perfectly my wishes for those I live among:
All ye, beneath life’s crushing load,Whose forms are bending low,Who toil along the climbing wayWith painful steps and slow,Look now! For glad and golden hoursCome swiftly on the wing:O rest beside the weary road,And hear the angels sing!
To a People Filled with Envy, Strife, and Quarrels…
God has called us to a divisive people, a people who are quick to anger. All too often there is violence in the streets and people aggressively screaming at one another. The other day, Dave even saw a woman walking down the road belligerently yelling at…a bird.
So to those who do not smile, whose mothers had few kind words to give, who defenses are always up, who do not yet know Christian love and warmth, who have never known a true friend, whose lives are filled with arguing and division, may Jesus come into your lives. May he silence all the strivings and quarrels and fill the whole people group, the whole world, with heaven’s peace.
O come, Desire of nations, bindAll peoples in one heart and mind;Bid envy, strife, and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
To Those Steeped in the Darkness of Animism…
Our pastor mentioned the other day that as the end of the year approaches, usually there is an increase in witchcraft and animism in our region. Often accusations fly with each death, “My child is dead because so-and-so put a curse on her through sorcery.” Whether or not there was a visit to a sorcerer, suspicions are high and trust is absent.
And so, once again, a familiar Christmas carol expresses perfectly my prayer for this people: that Jesus would come and disperse the darkness that surrounds us.
Oh come, though Day-spring, come and cheerOur spirits by thine advent here;Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
And so, this not-super-festive Christmas season has been a blessing in so many ways. It has been a reminder to me that it is Jesus Christ is the one who has come to carry our sorrows, heal our diseases, put us in right relationship with his father and with our fellow man. And he is the one who will come again and put everything as it should be. Come quickly Lord Jesus.