Thursday, December 15, 2022

Rejoicing in the Midst of Weariness


By: Donna Bucher

Does this Christmas season feel heavy for you? Perhaps the normal joy of the season seems replaced by weariness.

Thinking back to that first Christmas, God's people experienced great weariness. No audible word came from God since the prophet Malachi 400 years prior. So many years waiting for the Messiah to come, sitting in darkness; had God forgotten them?

Weariness of heart tempted even the most faithful to lose hope.


“The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.  And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Luke 1:19-20


The familiar story of the angel Gabriel appearing to Zacharias announcing the birth of John the Baptist perhaps betrays a weary heart. When Zacharias questions the possibility of Elisabeth conceiving a child, he is struck dumb, unable to speak.

Formerly, viewing the angel’s action as punishment, I wonder if instead of a punishment, it was a gift?

Perhaps Zacharias' response elicited from a weary heart, tottering on the edge of hopelessness.

Perhaps God looked upon Zacharias with an eye of compassion. He knew Zacharias, his faithful service in the temple, in the very holy of holies. Surely God knew the years dealt disappointment after disappointment to Zacharias and his heart struggled to rejoice.

I wonder if God knew the response of doubt from Zacharias merely stemmed from a heart too weary to hope again.


Instead of displeasure, I offer that God in His steadfast love provided Zacharias with the gift of silence. A silence that ushered Zacharias into a position of belief and trust in God.

The gift of silence allowed Zacharias to truly listen; to his own heart and to the voice of God. We see the results of this gift of silence in the Song of Zacharias in Luke 1:67-79.

Beautiful words of redemption, in the past tense, uttered in confidence of God's intent and plan.


Possibly you feel a bit like Zacharias this Christmas. Disappointment after disappointment throughout the past year. No stranger to hard seasons of life, I confess a weary heart beats in my chest. Pursuing the gift of silence offers one way to bring refreshment to a weary heart.


Discovering God's Presence

Sitting with Yourself. Consider the past days, weeks or months; what challenges did you face? Where can you see God working in a purposeful and redemptive way through those challenges? What unexpected gifts can you find? As you anticipate your Christmas celebration, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to God at work in your circumstances.

Sitting with God. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to see His good hand in your disappointments. Ask that He would give you understanding and the ability to accept the hard things. Seek to watch for Him this Christmas.

Sitting with Others. Think about those in your circle of influence, those with whom you spend time. Seek the Holy Spirit's help for eyes to see beyond the external, that you may meet their heart needs. How can you encourage someone in a hard season?


Present with Emmanuel

Sitting with yourself. Consider the things distracting you the most right now. Envision placing them in the hands of God. Feel the release and freedom from the weight of performance. With the space created, how will you be present to Emmanuel? What are some ways you can watch and listen for His Presence with you? When you hear Him, how will you respond?

Sitting with God. Remember the babe in the manger, fully God, yet fully man and the purpose He came. Consider what lies before Him. Contemplate He will experience pain, sorrow, betrayal, and rejection. How does this affect your intimacy with the One, ever with you? As you sit in His Presence, open your heart to Him knowing He fully understands your pain.

Sitting with others. Consider ways you may encounter Emmanuel in others this Christmas. Will you recognize Him? How can you show His love through presence with others this Christmas?


In the stillness, we listen; even more, we hear. We create space for God to speak into our weariness. We receive rest for our souls, peace in the hard places and the comfort of Emmanuel.

May we embrace the beauty of stillness in the presence of Emmanuel this Christmas season, fully receiving the redemption He came to offer.



Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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