Advent Devotional: Friday, December 21 – The Longest Night

written by Rev. Carol Cooper

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Each year in the midst of Advent, in the midst of celebrations and Christmas gatherings comes the winter solstice. The day when we have the least amount of daylight and the longest amount of night. It seems appropriate to me, that in the midst of so many parties and joyful occasions, this day comes…the reason it’s appropriate is because for many, Christmas will be hard this year. Many will notice an empty chair at the dinner table that was once filled with their loved one. Many are struggling with anxiety and depression and finding joy at Christmas is just not possible this year.

This year, if you are full of joy, remember those who are not…be extra kind and patient…instead of a gift, give someone your time and a listening ear. This year if you are struggling to find any joy in this season, you are not alone. It is okay to feel your feelings. It is okay to not be excited. You are loved. Jesus longs for you to come to him and to place your burdens on him and he will be ready whenever you are ready.

God of love and understanding, we enter this season having to confront our pain in the midst of the world’s celebration. Help us know that you are present with us in all of our moods and feelings and seasons. Grant us a taste of the hope, peace, joy, and love that you promise to all of your people through the gift of your son Jesus. Amen.