Advent – A Weary World Rejoices: A Letter to West Franklin

Advent – A Weary World Rejoices: A Letter to West Franklin November 27, 2021
West Franklin Family,
As you know, I did not grow up hearing the word “Advent.” The season of Advent has been, until recently, foreign to me. Quickly, however, Advent has become one of my favorite seasons on the Christian calendar. It gives me (and the Church) permission to ache. Permission to long. Permission to recognize and acknowledge that life is hard, a struggle, a slog. Advent means “coming.” It carries with it the idea that we are living in the “in between” of Christ’s first coming and His second. Jesus accomplished things for us that give us deep rooted and lasting joy. But until He comes again, there are things that will cause us to groan. Advent gives us permission to be real and authentic and admit that becoming a Christian doesn’t automatically make every bad thing disappear. One day they will. But until then, Advent. Fleming Rutledge, who has helped me understand the meaning of Advent, wrote, “The disappointment, brokenness, suffering and pain that characterize life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In this Advent tension, the church lives its life.”
Christians are weird. We live in constant tension. Paul said we are people who are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. We live in the middle of this. Life happens. But we always know wholeness and peace are coming. Recently I was introduced to a song I now hear on repeat. The title is from a line in the popular Christmas song “O Holy Night.” It is called “The Weary World Rejoices” by The Journey Collective. You can listen to the song here. For now, take a moment and ponder the words to this simple, yet profound song:
The weary world rejoices
The weary world rejoices
The weary world rejoices
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
The weary world rejoices
The weary world rejoices
The weary world rejoices
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
This weary world’s in chaos
This weary world’s in chaos
This weary world’s in chaos
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
My weary soul finds your peace
My weary soul finds your peace
My weary soul finds your peace
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
Maybe it’s because the last two years have been so hard on everyone. Maybe it’s because I am getting older. Maybe it’s because pastoring for over twenty years has put me on the front lines of seeing a lot of hurt and pain and sin and heartache. Maybe it’s because I have a sixteen year old – I love that he can drive, but am terrified he is driving. I don’t know. But these lyrics do something in me. I cry out, “Yes!” This is where we live. We are weary. The world is weary. The world is in chaos. But we rejoice. We declare “Hallelujah.” We know where peace is. We are wearisome, yet always rejoicing. Everything is in chaos, but we sing hallelujah. Our souls ache, but we have peace.
Advent.
Beginning tomorrow, through Christmas Eve, we will spend each Sunday morning exploring our longings. I want to challenge us to lean into the longings. Not to ignore them, or push them away. Rather, to pay attention to them. To recognize that our longings are there for a reason. We’ll start by looking at how two senior adults (Simeon and Anna) found ultimate meaning in life. My Bible will be open to Luke 2:25-38 . West Franklin, I cannot wait to explore these verses with you.
If interested, I have linked to some Advent devotional resources here. And here is a link to, in my opinion, tremendous Advent music.
Rejoicing in the weariness,
Pastor Matt

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