December 03, 2021
Just like that.
We’ve entered the last month of the year, and now we’re now almost two years into this pandemic set up.
And right, it’s Christmas again.
But honestly, it doesn’t feel like it is, especially with the mountains of requirements and backlogs left to climb and overcome.
Oh yeah, all these things we need to do are spread throughout December.
And then there’s the rest of our lives also.
But, one foot in front of the other, yeah?
Gustuhin mo mang magpahinga, pero dahil iniisip mo kung ano ang mga mangyayari, lalo kang nanghihina.
“Kelan kaya matatapos yung ganito?”
This isn’t the first time such a question was raised. Many centuries ago, the Israelites also said something similar while they were under the rule of the Roman Empire. Prior to this, they have been under occupation by other empires (with brief stints of independence) for hundreds of years.
While their circumstances were different from ours, we can relate to how tired and weary they were of their situation. Similarly, they had to face one battle after another in life and in freedom, without any breakthrough in sight.
Hundreds of years of fighting and struggling.
Hingang malalim muli.
“God, kailan Ka gagalaw?”
Ang hirap. Ang sakit.
“Kailan Mo tatapusin ang paghihirap namin?”
No end in sight. But we also know that sadly, we have to move forward.
Despite the fatigue.
Despite the pain.
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul seems to be talking about what we’re going through.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Maybe what we’ve been experiencing and feeling can be summarized into one word: groaning.
Stenazó, the original Greek word for groaning in this text, means “to feel pressure from what is coming on, which can be intensely pleasant or anguishing.” It describes the feeling which is “internal and unexpressed externally . . . expressing grief, anger, or desire.”
Maybe what’s really going on within us is an unexpressed mixture of pressure, grief of what was, anger for what is, and desire for what could be. Externally, we’ve made attempts to address all of these, but the situations barely changed.
It seems all we could do is sigh. Or groan.
And, honestly, we don’t know for sure how much longer we can hold on.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end here for you and me.
Time and again throughout the Bible we see that God has faithfully delivered His people. It always took time, but He always came through. All those instances of saving His people were to point to an ultimate deliverance—the coming of Jesus, Christmas.
This busy season is not meant to add to all the things we’re preoccupied with. Rather, it should add more meaning to all the things that we are doing. It doesn’t set aside all our burdens and make us feel pressured to celebrate even if we’re all worn out and exhausted.
Christmas is for the tired and weary.
The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of many promises made and prophecies spoken hundreds of years before. The seeming silence of God was broken by the cry of a baby in a manger.
The turnaround has begun.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they
shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
God with us. He has dwelt among us in the flesh (John 1:14). Perhaps that’s why the birth of Christ is such a game changer.
We now have someone to anchor our hope upon.
We now have someone to listen to our every cry and sigh.
We now have someone who will never leave us nor forsake us.
We now have someone who can give us an easy yoke and a light burden.
We now have someone who sees and values our every effort, even when no one else does.
Jesus is with us today and is ready and willing to come into our lives to be that Someone for all time to each one of us.
And again, this is not the end of the story.
While we celebrate the birth of Jesus in this season, we also celebrate the rest of His life, death, and resurrection.
Sometimes, it passes by us just how powerful this resurrecting power is.
For some reason, whenever it’s the end of the year, we feel the frustrations of unmet goals as well as the weariness of a full year of activities. Inevitably, some hopes and dreams may have died along the way and the motivation we have may be running on empty.
And that’s where Christ comes in. The breath that gave zoe life to the first Adam in Genesis is the same zoe life breathed into the Second Adam, Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Resurrection is found in Christ and Christ alone. But perhaps what is most encouraging for us who are groaning inwardly and are waiting for full redemption is where it says, “though he die, yet he shall live.” Why? Though our dreams, hopes, plans, and faith goals may have died, yet these may find life again.
He can breathe zoe life into all of that again as He breathes zoe life into you.
And maybe, this is the rest and refreshment we’ve been looking for all along.
We can believe in faith once more.
We can dream anew.
We can hope again.
“Do you believe this?”
This Christmas, I hope that even with a tired soul and weary heart, we find the strength and take a deep breath to say “yes.”
Just like that, hope has come.