Are you weary? This year has been one for the books. It has seen a pandemic and a hostile political election, sickness and pain, loss of all kinds, and the list could go on and on for each of you. For many of us, we have experienced loss before. But for all of us, I would imagine that we've experienced losses of varying importance, whether loss of something trivial that brings us comfort or the loss of someone near and dear to us.
The weariness that this long season has held for us has caused me to think differently about the longing that must have been in the hearts of those who looked to the coming of the Messiah. Can you imagine the waiting? And it wasn't just for nine months, a year, or even ten. The remnant of Israel–those who had faith in God and trusted Him–looked to the fulfillment of the promises that they had heard their entire lives. Imagine the longing. Imagine the weariness that can come with waiting on something your heart hopes for.
The longing and weariness in the waiting that we are experiencing in the world today should direct us to the truth from God's Word and the joy of the gospel. First, it should help us in understanding the desire of the nations for the One who would bring salvation to the world. The familiar carol, "O Holy Night," helps capture the coming of Jesus and how significantly it impacted the world:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Imagine Simeon who had spent his life "looking forward to Israel's consolation" (Luke 2:25 CSB). He knew that he would see the Messiah before he died. And on that day that Mary and Joseph entered the temple and Simeon saw Jesus, he exclaimed, "Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised. For my eyes have seen your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples–a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32). Yonder had broken a new and glorious morn.
The coming of Jesus changed everything. At His coming, the world rejoiced! The weariness was over. The waiting was over. This wasn't just another baby born, but this child–this was Jesus–God made flesh who would dwell among us. Though like us in human flesh, He would remain sinless. And because He was sinless, He would one day offer Himself up on our behalf to cancel the written code of sin on our hearts, take on God's wrath that we deserved, give us His righteousness in exchange, and present us as His brothers and sisters to God the Father. In Christ, friend, God has satisfied our deepest need. This truth should encourage our weary hearts in this season. A new day has come. The Messiah who would come and save the world has come.
We could get absorbed with the realities around us that are out of our control, or we could allow the Lord to orient our hearts to Him–the One our hearts should be longing for as we await His second coming. We can be weary and still have hope. We have hope in knowing that just as God promised to send a Messiah, He did. He is trustworthy and true. And He will be faithful to uphold His promises over and over again.
Don't lose heart this season and in the days and months after Advent has come and gone. We can surrender our weary hearts to the Savior of the world. After all, the Savior says, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).