It’s no secret that this year has been difficult. We’ve all had times when all we want to do is sit in our rooms all by ourselves because so much is wrong in the world. Many tears have been shed, and that’s okay. We could all use a little joy this Christmas season, and in Psalm 126: 4-6 we see that what many of us have endured this year will turn out to be a joyful new start. “4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb. 5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” I really like this Bible verse because it completely applies to this year. Pain and heartache have been all too common. We cried for those who lost loved ones and belongings in the Australian Wildfires at the beginning of this year. We waited with bated breath as it seemed that we were on the verge of possibly a new world war. We mourned for the loss of the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who were wrongfully killed, and we marched for justice in a system that forgets their names. We prayed for all those affected by the explosion in Beirut. We have been distancing ourselves so that we can try to stop Covid-19, which has taken many of those who are dear to us while masses go on about their lives as if nothing is wrong, and it angers us. We feel stressed, lonely, and angry due to a lot of things that are simply out of our control.
But we care. All of this is because we care. “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” These are the same words that many of us feel in our hearts everyday. We hope that this will one day end and all of our worrying and empathy will turn into joy and happiness. I like to think that it will. For all the bad in the world right now, there are many things to be joyful about! Our time in quarantine has helped us connect with those close to us. Many people have picked up new hobbies, board games have made a HUGE comeback, and technology has been made widely available that can help us see loved ones halfway across the world! SpaceX sent some astronauts into space, Dolly Parton has become even more beloved across the world by standing up for racial justice and quietly funding vaccine research for Covid, and our BasketVols are looking really good this year. On a more local level, I have found joy in seeing everyone at UKirk whenever we had outdoor worship, pumpkin carving, movie night, and coffee on the porch. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, and it will feel all the better if we remember these words.