The Cares of Christmas and a Weary Woman’s HeartBy Stacey Weeks
December 22, 2021
I know the story. I know it so well that it’s in danger of losing its wonder. My busyness commemorating the holiday season combined with the cares of this world rub the shine off the narrative. If I am not careful, the opening lines of the biblical account will stir little more than the warm and fuzzy feelings of a fairy tale. I am so consumed by the cares of this world that I’m missing the miracle of the season. And I’m not alone.
How many people missed the ancient star declaring the first coming of our Savior? How many failed to understand and let their daily troubles steal their attention and time? How many are like me, so focused on the issue in front of me that I fail to look up?
As angels prepared Mary and Joseph for the unbelievable events about to unfold, as the heavens announced Christ’s arrival and led wise men to worship Him, the rest of the world carried on as usual. They traveled, made dinner, and fulfilled their daily obligations, not hearing the cosmic announcement that followed 400 hundred years of heavenly silence. It came when no one expected it, and no one was looking for it.
Another cosmic announcement will come. It will come when no one expects. It will come when no one is looking up to see the signs in the sun, moon and stars (Lk. 21:25). We will be traveling, making dinner and fulfilling our obligations when the heavens will shout of another monumental arrival. It will bring not a baby’s cry but a nation’s wail (v25-26).
The natural disasters and fearsome circumstances that unfold as a prelude to this coming sound an awful lot like creation’s present-day groaning. Distress and anxiety abound as people, families, and entire communities fear what might be coming next. But Jesus says, “Straighten up, raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk. 21:28).
Redemption. Such a sweet word for a weary world. A gift for my exhausted soul.
Weariness encapsulates the last two years. Losses piled upon losses as creation claws its way out of a worldwide event that has left many weary right down to the bones. The last few years of church ministry have wrung the air from my lungs. I have questioned my ability to survive, persevere and suffer well while not growing weary of doing good (Gal. 6:9). It’s with a worn and troubled heart that I enter this holiday season. But there is hope in the hardship because that is the message of Christmas. Christ came for the broken and weary. Christ not only came; He is coming back.
Jesus goes on to command his followers in Luke 21:34-35 to “watch themselves” because if they don’t, his return will surprise them. Jesus warns them of the troubles that can weigh down a heart and explains the dangerous consequences of failing to watch. Dissipation (i.e. overindulgence) and drunkenness are distractions to remaining watchful. In many cases indulging in the first causes the second. But Jesus also references the cares of this life as a distraction. These include not only the trouble surrounding us—the uncertainties and anxieties, and our daily responsibilities consume us—but also the general busyness of life. We risk missing the signs that redemption draws near when we are fixated on these activities. We miss the signs of hope and only see the evil.
When evil steals all the security this world has to offer, and the best doctor has no hope, when the bank account is empty, when the illness is fatal, or the accident is life-changing, look up. Fix your gaze on the Light—set on the unchanging security found in a right relationship with God. When Christ entered our world, He scattered the darkness, making the night is as bright as the day because He is the light. He holds us. His right hand guides us. When the cares of this world press in, lift your heads and fix your gaze upon Him.
Glorious Surrender, 2021 (2nd Ed.)
Jesus says to straighten up and raise your head, watch, and another command arrives in Luke 21:36, “stay awake at all times, praying for the strength to escape what will take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” Praying for God to once again provide a way through the chaos and turmoil coming our way.