“Weary world”…the writer of "O Holy Night" got that right! I’m tired, aren’t you? Just listening to the news every evening wears me out. Economic distress, social unrest, solutions that are obscure at best dominate the newscasts contributing to a weary mood, to a weary world. And, alas, it’s Christmas time. A time of cheer, excitement and joy. But the weariness remains, aches if you will, like a tooth just starting to pain.
I confess my children help me maintain the joy of Christmas. They are still young, they are still creating those holiday memories that will pleasantly haunt them in adulthood. For them, I can slough off my weariness and sing…and bake and shop and wrap.
But Christmas isn’t about me or the kids; it is about someone’s birthday. Someone, whose humble birth in a barn two millennia ago, changed the world. C.S. Lewis wrote, “The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth – the very thing the whole story has been about.” Remembering that and what he did and what he said grounds me. The gifts and the glitter, the lights and the laughter and the music and the magic are sweet by-products of this “central event”. Although these delightful paraphernalia of the holiday give a sense of joy, it is fleeting like the energy from a Snickers bar.
It is this historical event that gives the weary world true and permanent joy. His birth is “the good tidings of great joy”. And that joy spills over into every area we allow it. Not a fleeting feeling of happiness, but a deep abiding joy. A joy that can endure hardship, a joy that can sustain tragedy and a joy that can hope during the dark night. A joy I define as an internal place I liken to a plateau I have reached after a long and arduous hike. It may be stormy or it may be sunny; but regardless, I have reached a higher land and fresher air.
The true meaning of this blessed holiday brings greater joy to happy Christmases and comfort through the inevitable sad and lonely ones. This Christmas I hope your joy will deepen and provide greater comfort and peace to you and your family and friends. Happy Christmas from the Shoe.