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Card and image from Jones Design Company (adorable site!)

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Chorus:

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

(Chorus)

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name!

The weary world. A weary soul. My soul—weary from the journey of a year. Don’t we all reach this season with some load of weariness on our shoulders? Our packs may be of different shapes and sizes, some hauling more weariness than others, but still, we reach our destination fairly exhausted.

At least, I do.

Weariness isn’t where the song begins, however…

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining

Something transcends our sin and pining—our weariness. Someone, who turns an ordinary night, into a Holy Night.

This is why we prepare. This is why we journey to Bethlehem. To feel the soul’s worth. To see our Savior.

But somehow the shopping and wrapping, baking and sending, decorating and merry-making, manage to take over. The damned commercialization of Christmas (and I say that quite literally). Then the internet wars: Santa is Evil, Leave My Santa Alone!, 100 places for your Elf on the Shelf, To Hell with Elf on the Shelf! To say Merry Christmas or not; to be offended when the check-out girl says, “Happy Holidays!” Or not.

For those of us journeying towards our Savior, engaging in such nonsense only increases our weariness…needlessly.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand

We are to be led by the light of Faith. Pressing on towards the Christ Child calling us into His glory; a baby lying in a feed trough for animals on the outskirts of a smallish-sized town.

Is it possible to make it to the end with a glowing heart?  How many years have you spent preparing for Christmas, only to find that by the time Christmas arrives you are totally spent? I would not like to count mine…nor admit the number if I did.

I remember my aunt telling me one year that Pastor had challenged his congregation to give up something for the Advent season. Not the kind of “giving up” as in sacrificing a small indulgence to help one remember Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. This was the kind of “giving up” that would lighten one’s load making the final leg of the Bethlehem journey a tiny bit lighter, a little less cumbersome.

She gave up her regular weekly deep cleaning routine the entire holiday season. A burden lifted. A superfluous preparation let go.

What could I release? What tradition, routine, or expectation is unnecessary for the journey? Not forever, but for now—or maybe forever, who knows? But for this season, right in this moment, what could I release?

What could you release?

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

By releasing, can we make it to Bethlehem, remembering the holiness of the night more than the weariness of our souls; letting all within us praise His holy name. And if we long for a new and glorious morning—his law of love, His gospel of Peace—then we must make it to Bethlehem!

2nd week of Advent--Peace

2nd week of Advent–Peace

Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night divine!

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