Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Rev. Dr. Gary Kindley
My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.
Hannah’s Prayer (1 Samuel 2:1)
"When You Don’t Feel the Christmas Spirit"
This phrase from the Prayer of Hannah, recorded in the first Book of Samuel, is a part of a prayer that is really a song or poem. It is a mixture of emotion, both praising God and ridiculing enemies (See 1 Samuel 2:1-10). Do you ever feel mixed if not mixed-up in your emotions?
For most Christ-followers, the Christmas season is associated with a spirit of cheer, good will, gratitude and celebration of the birth of the Christ. There are festive hymns, glittering decorations, and spectacular lights that celebrate this season of joy. Of course, life is not always joyful and the complications of relationships can make it a difficult time for many.
Perhaps you have difficulty with the Bible itself. Scripture can be complex and give mixed messages that can make the gracious God whom Jesus revealed into a war-mongering, angry deity.
Maybe you are experiencing the emotional burden of loss and grief or even mood disorders such as depression or anxiety. It’s difficult to find joy and peace when you are painfully grieving an absent loved one or suffering from hopelessness and apprehension.
Hannah is a woman who knew both tragedy and triumph. She knew peacetime and wartime. She places her trust and finds her strength in the divine mystery of the Holy One whom none of us can ever completely comprehend.
It is OK if you don’t feel the Christmas Spirit. YOU are OK even in times such as that. There is a Strength, a Presence, a Transcendent Hope who has the capacity to see beyond today and to carry you through it to tomorrow.
The hymn writer put it this way: “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom (redeem/bring hope to) captive Israel (the People of God/You and me)!”
May it be so.
Holy Mystery, may I allow myself the patience and grace that is needed for the journey and that you offer each of us every day. In the name of the Christ. Amen.
If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope devotion, we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.