Weary. Overwhelmed. Fretful.
These are words I would use to describe myself this week, so close to Christmas. I want the words to be different. Joyful. Content. At peace. Unburdened. Those are the words I want to use. But I struggle to because I am always forgetting…
O Holy Night is by far my favorite Christmas song. No matter how often I hear it, it never ceases to move me. As I’ve gotten older, not only do I find the music beautiful, but I find myself really listening to, and appreciating, the words of this old hymn:
O holy night! the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth.
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!
Fall on your knees!
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
I always get that squeaky, closed-throat feeling when I sing the line about the weary world. The weary world discovered an amazing hope. And even in its weariness, it found the energy to rejoice. To celebrate. Why? Because finally, there was Hope. A Savior had come to this earth and “the soul felt its worth”.
Perhaps for the first time, the human soul saw its worth as it came face-to-face with its Creator. A Creator who bent low to be born as a human child so He could live, and die, for His creation… so they would know their worth to Him: Beloved.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
- the words of Jesus, Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
Jesus knew I would face weariness and overwhelm again and again in this life. He came to free me from the heavy burdens I carry—burdens of performance, of being ‘good enough’, of fretting and striving, of worrying about what-ifs and fearing the unknown, of trying to make up for the long list of mistakes I’ve made and hurt I’ve caused over the course of my life, of not doing everything perfectly. Jesus—God—never meant any of that for me because He knew it was too much to ask of any person. So He took all of it on Himself. He did it all perfectly so I wouldn’t have to. He took the hit for the hurt I’ve caused. He took the punishment, and gave me grace instead.
So why do I still feel burdened? Overwhelmed? Weary? Because I forget. I forget this Savior that Christmas talks about isn’t sitting up in some unseen cosmic place shaking His head in disappointment. He came to rescue the weary. He came to give me—us—hope. Forever-hope.
The world piles these crazy demands on us - to do more. Fix things yourself. Try harder. Manipulate this. Compete for that. Hustle, hustle, hustle! And for some crazy reason we listen. And as I pile these demands on myself—demands that He keeps telling me to let go of—He reminds me again that He doesn’t need my performance, nor my perfection, nor my duty. Rather he desires my delight, my heart, my joy. He wants me to be free so I can celebrate. So I can rest. So I can rejoice. So I can enjoy Him, and the miraculous liberty He has given me from the demands and burdens this world places on me.
This is ultimately what the message of Christmas is: Hope coming to a weary and broken world. And for some reason I need to constantly be reminded of it. So this week, I am creating a reminder for myself to lay down my burdens.
If you, like me, need to remember that God didn’t come into this world to be a taskmaster, putting more burdens on you, but that He came to remove your burdens and carry them Himself, feel free to download this embroidery pattern for your personal use. My Christmas gift to you. ❤