Read Isaiah 52:1-10
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
- Psalm 30:5 (NRSV)
I could not bring myself to say, “Merry Christmas.” I knew my friend’s Christmas would be overshadowed by concern for her child. As we sang “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” about Israel’s mourning in exile and crying out to the Lord for deliverance, I was reminded of my friend and her child. Each was held captive in “lonely exile” from the joy of the Christmas season. I also thought that while the church marches through Advent in a month, our personal journeys through Advent may take much longer. When we have a difficult child, a dying spouse, a bout of depression, a crushing disease, a failing marriage, a loss of income, or another seismic shift in our lives, we, like Israel, mourn “in lonely exile,” crying out for the Son of God to appear in our lives. Looking back over unhappy times in my own life, I wondered, Is crying out for the Lord a cry of despair or a cry of hope? Instinctively, I have known that I could not give up hope. Hope carries me through the weeks, months, or years of “lonely exile” and into the peace, love, and joy promised in Jesus Christ.
Thought for the Day: “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”
Prayer: Dear God, grant us courage to hope and to persevere through bleak times in our lives so that we may know the joy you offer. Amen.
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