Lectionary reading for 12/7/2021: Psalm 126; Isaiah 19:18-25; 2 Peter 1:2-15
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 126
Psalms 126 NRSV
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,[a] we were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
I’ve always had a strict rule for myself that Christmas music should not be played until after our Thanksgiving meal is eaten. Once the turkey and stuffing has been devoured, we can “Deck the Halls” and “Joy to the World” 24/7, but not one moment before. And it’s never been that difficult for me to hold off on all the favorite seasonal carols. This year, however, the moment the trick-or-treating was done I started to feel a deep longing to fill our home with the familiar choruses that help to frame the Advent season. As I sat with the longing to break my hard and fast Christmas music rule, I began to interrogate this unknown impulse. Ask myself why it was that this year I felt so differently.
It has been a long, strange, hard season for our family – and I know that each and every one of us has faced our own versions of hard this past year and a half. Many of our days have felt marked by grief, frustration, anger, anxiety, disappointment, and disbelief. What a good word and reminder of God’s faithfulness is spoken to us through Psalms 126. I am ready for a season in which our tears and weeping – both personal and collective – are traded for joy, laughter and dreams.
And in the midst of it all, I am also called to remember all that the Lord has done for me, for us. A call to practice gratitude in each and every season that I am walking through. A call to bear witness to the dark moments of life that have seen restoration and trust that restoration will come again.
I sense that once the Christmas carols fill our home this year, they will sound all the sweeter. In asking myself the question of why I have had the deep longing to get a jump on the Christmas season this year, I have come to realize how deeply I am in need of a season to proclaim and prepare the way for Emmanuel – God with us. God with us in every season. Ready to welcome the one who can turn our tears into shouts of joy, often in mysterious and unexpected ways.
In what areas of your life are you longing for restoration? Where do you long for restoration in our collective life together? Where do you sense a longing to dream a new dream?
Our good God, we long for the day that our weeping will be transformed into shouts of joy. We pray we would know your daily presence as we await your restoration and we are filled with laughter once again.
About the Author
Jenny Hoskins recently moved to Nashville, TN after about a decade of living and serving in Ecuador. She continues to work for Serve Globally, a ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church, and grateful to stay connected to beloved communities in Latin America during this stateside chapter for her family. She loves time spent outdoors with her husband Chris and their two kids and most joyful when their table is surrounded by friends and good food.