Okay. It’s literally been six months. Don’t hate me. It was a busy semester. And life got busy and a lot changed. But man oh man did I ever think about writing, about sharing with you guys. I just happened to never get the words out.
Instead of trying to come up with excuses, let’s just pretend that we’ve both been busy and it’s the first time we’ve gotten to sit down and chat over a good cup of coffee in a long, long while. This is my personal apology. I’ll try to never do it again. I can’t make guarantees. But I promise I will try.
Wow, what a semester. What a whirlwind Jesus took me on. Looking back now, it’s all a bit of a blur, the kind of feeling you get after riding a roller coaster; okay, that was awesome but did I see anything in full? I’m not quite sure.
School wise, well, school was school. I read a lot. I wrote a lot. I learned a lot and met some incredible people. And I grew. So overall, school was good.
But life wise, oh, life was rich.
For the first time in a long time, I found myself slowly and gently coming back to life. Maybe it was my own space in a house filled with people I love, maybe it was a new school year, maybe it was just the kindness of Jesus. But as I experienced the semester unfolding, my heart steadily grew more and more open. I grew in relationship. I fell in love with a really incredible man of God. I asked hard questions. I got humble and asked for forgiveness. I laughed. I let go. I started really getting healed and parting with the fear of pain. And I’m not all patched up yet, but there’s been a lot of growth. I feel more settled, more sure of God’s character, more like myself than I have in a really long time.
But just like every semester, I get to the end and I’m a little bit cracked, a little bit weary. The last push of finals and final papers mixed with not enough sleep, too much coffee, and that numbing pull of apathy leaves me getting to the end with just enough heart to make the drive home and crawl into bed with the plan to watch endless hours of netflix (Gilmore Girls, anyone?) and read a pile of books. Ask any college kid how they feel at the end of the semester and their response will likely come back to one word: weary.
We’re all just a little bit tired, a little bit worn from whatever life has throw at us. No matter if you’re in school or not, we all get to the end of the year, this Christmas season, and we’re met with this mix expectation and weariness, chaos and joy.
And I’m guessing for that reason, this simple little line of O Holy Night refuses to remove itself from my brain:
The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
The weary world rejoices. That sounds quite a bit like my own little world.
It always amazes me that when you really start to press into God, he uses that space to come and move in places you never thought he would. He comes and shakes things up; just when I’m comfortable in my routine or my performance, or even my opinions on who I think He is, He comes and reminds me, “Hey, Mary Cate, you know this isn’t all there is. You know I have more for you, right? Okay then, stop performing. Let go, breathe, I’m taking care of you.”
And that’s what this semester and season of Advent has been for me. God coming and moving, restoring, redeeming, and redefining everything. Kind of like what He did as He came into the world as a new born babe. Completely vulnerable, completely God. Bursting forth into our world to get on our level and touch the weary places in our hearts. How glorious.
Just think about it. Even Jesus’s parents were weary. I don’t know about you ladies, but traveling on a donkey at nine months pregnant is not on my bucket list of things I’d like to do. And dudes, I don’t think Joseph had a grand time either. He was walking. Many miles, caring for a wife whom he probably loved but who was carrying a child that was not his. He was carrying the weight of secrets, of questions and misunderstanding. How many questions he likely had for God, but what a faithful and obedient man. Amazing. What a mission these two weary people were on. How incredible that God would plan for them to take a trip, just as their baby was born, in order for these weary travelers to confirm just one of many prophesies about their baby Son. It’s just incredible! Two ordinary people, given the honor of carrying the King into the world. To hold his tiny body, to soothe him. To wipe away his tears, to care for and comfort. And in those quiet moments, on that holy, holy night, what healing and peace that sweet baby must have brought, to both his parents and the peoples of the world.
For this entire season of Advent, my heart has been so tender, so hyper-aware of my longings, of the weariness in my heart. We’re all longing, we’re all aching, because this world is broken. It’s not as it should be. Even the good stuff is just a figment of what it was intended to be. But God loves to use these longings. He loves to meet us in our aching. Not because we deserve it, not because he has to, but just because our deep deep longings give our Savior so much space to move.
Do you hear what I’m saying? Our Lord and Savior is among us. The day of his birth is rapidly approaching. And no matter where you’re at, no matter what is coming in the days ahead, Jesus is longing to encounter you. In your longings, in your aching. Exactly as you are. He’s doing that exact thing in my life and I know he wants to do the same in yours. And because of that great love he has for us, I just can’t help but fall more in love with him. Because in my weakest and most fragile state, He longs to awake hope. He longs to help me rejoice.
Hear the song again. The thrill of hope. Our weary world is rejoicing. Because ahead of us, a new and glorious morning awaits. The King has come! His bursting forth into our brokenness appears like the Star of David, shattering the darkness of the night, lighting the way for us to come and encounter him.
It’s Christmas Eve. And the world is not as it should be. But what if instead of patching up our hurt, our shame, our broken families and dreams with presents and false Christmas cheer, we just for a few minutes allowed ourselves to be broken, and invited our Savior to come and meet us in that place? What if we let down our guard and became vulnerable, like a child, and allowed ourselves to be held, to be comforted by the King of Kings? See, he’s been exactly where you are. Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
So this Christmas Eve, let’s approach the throne of Jesus. Let’s admit our brokenness, even if it’s for the few minutes before the family arrives and the presents are opened. It’s such a glorious time, such a sweet time, but we don’t have to pretend that everything is alright if it’s not. We can be real. We can be vulnerable. And we can be held by our sweet, sweet Savior, who understands, who bears our burdens, who came to be near. Not just to your neighbor or your friend who has his or her life together, but to you. You, friend. Weary, broken, frayed-around-the-edges You.
So let him come. Let him come and breathe into the weary places, let him come and bear the longings. Let him come and rest.
The weary world rejoices.