Read Jeremiah 31:15-17.
Jeremiah 31:15-17 depicts hope amid bitter sorrow and weeping. Perhaps you’ve experienced this kind of bitter sorrow and weeping, or you know a loved one who has. Perhaps you’ve seen this bitter sorrow and weeping on the news or social media. Our lives and world are often plunged into bitter sorrow and weeping.
Jeremiah meets us in our personal sorrow and in the world’s sorrow with this message: “There’s hope for your future, declares the Lord.”
Advent and Christmas are seasons of hope. Advent gives us the hope of the coming Messiah. Christmas gives us the hope that comes with the birth of the Messiah, Jesus. Hope is fuel for the actions of faith and devotion to this hope-bringing Messiah.
I love the Christmas carol “O Holy Night.” When I hear this song, I envision a darkened, expectant sanctuary illuminated by candlelight. Reflect on this stanza with Jeremiah 31:15-17 in mind:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.2
Hope thrills us into action so that we rejoice amid bitter sorrow and weeping, and keep awake to see a new, glorious morning. Thanks be to God!
O God of light who meets us in our dark moments, hear my cry. Fill me with the thrill of hope offered by Jesus the Messiah. Help me rejoice, even in weariness. Keep me awake to experience the joy of that new and glorious morning! Amen.
Rev. Drew Hanson
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (Quincy, MA)