Conversations are replete with statements of events, gatherings, to-do lists… I rarely hear anyone say they have ample time to rest this time of year. Is it possible to choose rest and consider long and deep the meaning of the holy night so long ago?
Instead, I do hear of “weariness”. There are different kinds of weariness, I think. There is the weariness of continuous physical pain, the weariness of financial strain, the weariness of a difficult job, the weariness of dealing with difficult people, the weariness of sorrow, the weariness of carrying burdens, the weariness of circumstances, the weariness of waiting, the weariness of sin… the list can go on. I think most of us can relate to much of this list.
We can’t all relate, however, to the weariness of running away from a war, the weariness of being a refugee, the weariness of hunger, the weariness of violence and death. Millions of people today are living such weariness, day after day… year after year, running away from the weariness of being forced out of their homes, and some of them still living under tyrannical authority.
The words in a favorite Christmas song we sing at this time of year “O Holy Night” address the weariness we experience:
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices….
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices”.
It reminds me of this verse:
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. — Isaiah 40:31
Those who hope in Him… will not grow weary.
I think of the times I have grown weary. The temptation is there to quit, to assume all is lost, to stop running the race. Weariness causes that, sapping the strength and the spirit. Like a downward spiral, weariness affects us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
But here in this verse, we find an antidote to weariness.
It’s called “hope”.
But it is not “hope” in just anything, or just anyone. It is not hoping in a political ideology, a place, a person, a government, a situation, a job, etc.
It is not hoping in what the world offers. The world’s offerings are temporary and unfulfilling, and seek to usurp God’s place of supremacy in our lives.
Rather, it is hope focused on a specific Person.
It is hope in Jesus. That is where we find our worth. That is where we find rest for the weariness. That is the hope of Christmas, and why we celebrate.
Jesus is the reason for any hope at all.
Jesus invites us to come and give him our weariness:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28
The antidote to weariness is available to us all year long, every single day.
Hope. Hope in Jesus, and find rest for the weariness.