There are days, moments my feet want to turn and run. Away, away from all of this. Away from myself. They want to run and not turn back to this life littered with heartache and sorrow. As my feet plot their journey, a laugh pierces through their plans. That laugh. Oh, that laugh. The laugh of the little girl bounding into the room. The laugh of the little girl and her father delighting in the mere presence of the other. The laugh that crawls into my lap and swirls around me. My feet remain still.
This is where I most belong.
How is it that I can be so lost and yet so found? How is it that my heart can beat with both sorrow’s weight and joy’s freedom? How is it that this life so beautiful can be marred by such anguish? One moment I am found breathless from the laughter, but the next I struggle to find my breath at all.
It is in the coming season especially I see joy and sorrow woven tightly together.
There is a child in a lonely manger, a star brightly shining overhead. His mother brought forth this life, witnessed only by her betrothed and the lingering animals. A child’s cry pierces the air: the Savior has arrived. The Messiah is here. Emmanuel, God with us, has burst forth. He has come to heal, to forgive, to mend, to love, to save. He has come to take hold of a cross weighed down, too heavy for anyone but this God-man.
Joy shouts his coming while sorrow whispers what is to come.
Joy and sorrow have once again woven their arms around one another. This Servant King gently calls out, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” Come to him with shouts of joy and cries of sorrow.
In the moment of his greatest sorrow, you and I were his greatest joy.
With a heart heavy with love, tears kissed His face, “Father, forgive them.” One sentence, spoken with outstretched arms, ushered joy into the lives of all who believed. And so it is, in our deepest sorrow also comes our greatest joy.
When our hearts race and we grasp for breath, fearing we will crumble from the weight of sorrow’s burdens, joy enters in strong and triumphant.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1: 3-9)
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