“O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.”
This year ends mostly on good notes - a merry Mississippi Christmas trip ahead of us with plenty of time spent with friends, family and the world's most adorable nieces and nephews; solid jobs; a sweet baby girl on the way and so much to be grateful for.
Many years, I have limped into Christmas and the New Year, far far more fragile than I am now, full of brokenness, longing and hopelessness. I am comfortable with that- I know how to celebrate Advent in the midst of pain and times of waiting. This year is different - it ends with mostly joy and hope and blessings, but as I have struggled through December, I realized that this year ends in praise, but it also ends in exhaustion. I am learning how to celebrate the Savior’s coming with a weary soul and body.
Part of that exhaustion is my fault - over committing, trying to do too much (specifically too much for a 30 week pregnant woman!) and part of that exhaustion is that the road to these blessings has not been easy. I walked through really hard times this year – with Emmanuel by my side- and now that I have survived, I am worn out.
Celebrating and rejoicing in God's goodness to us in the past year does not undo the fact that many tears were cried and much heartache was felt in 2015. Seeing God redeem and restore is lovely and such an honor to witness, but fresh scars still remain on our hearts. Work, relationships, licensing exams, family (or rather growing our family) has not made for an easy year. A happy one, yes, but an easy one, not at all. Dave feels it too – after months of holding each other up and trying our best to courageously fight through lives battles, we are far more grumpy with each other and life this December than we were last year and we seem to be more sickly and insulated than our normal selves. We aren't hurting, per se. We aren't hopeless. Just the opposite – we are joyful and thankful for our many blessings. But, we are just plum worn out – and the exhaustion shows – with worn out bodies, in sickness and colds that won’t go away, in harsh words and baggy circles under our eyes.
And, so I limp into Christmas in a different way – not in a “still in the trenches” type a way, not in a hopeless way – but in a weary and worn out way. This year, “Emmanuel” ( “God with us”) means something different to me. I have experienced an Emmanuel who helps me through hard roads or strengthens me in the waiting. I know the Emmanuel who undeservedly blesses me. And, this season, I am finding that this Emmanuel is also with me in recovery. Just as he walked me through hard times, He will hold my hand as I heal and rest and find strength again. He is my rest – and He came to offer us ultimate healing and rest.
This year I am coming to the manger weary – and there I will find rest that only a Savior can grant me.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”