The desert and the parched land will exult; / the steppe will rejoice and bloom with abundant flowers, / and rejoice with joyful song…Strengthen the hands that are feeble, / make firm the knees that are weak, / say to those whose hearts are frightened: / Be strong, fear not!…Isaiah 34: 1-4
One of the best things I love about Christmas is HOPE. The season is brimming over in it. Isaiah’s readings. Little children’s letters to Santa. Big adults hoping for big changes in life–even when they know they’re too big to be wishing for little things.
Christmas is the birth of hope amidst years of despair. For a desert people. And for advanced ones too.
I never used to identify with phrases like “hands that are feeble” or “knees that are weak” but age is inevitable. I see Susie’s and Delia’s graying whiskers as no different from my own. I see how slowly we climb the stair and how often we sneak a nap. There’s even hope there. God rests with us.
I’m mindful of how almost everything about Christmas is wrapped in hope. I’m mindful of how easily I can get lost in wrapping paper and Christmas tree lights and forget why we’re rejoicing in the first place. I scotch tape myself right onto that wall of creating my own human disappointments instead of allowing God to surround me with simple Christmas joy:
Susie asleep in our prayer chair, Delia sprawled out under the tree, a dusting of snow, Christmas carols, that little boy chatting with his mother across from me on the subway train. The very human instances of joy are all over. The very feline moments of joy are very near.
Rejoice and be glad! Christmas is near.