Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
I am incredibly torn by Paul’s words in verse 16. They carry the optimism and hope that we might associate with Christmas and the new year. Yet, in the world’s current climate, with a severe mental health crisis on our hands – what do we do with this verse?
What if we are depressed? What if our bodies are breaking down, but we do not feel the internal renewal every day? What if the overwhelming emotion of life in this season does not feel like a “minor problem?” It is hard for me to see our collective mental and spiritual struggles producing an “eternal stockpile of glory.”
Advent’s nuance pushes against the glittery and twinkling picture of corporate Christmas. Christ’s coming shows us that hope and grief sit together in harmony. This symphony of emotions is present in the manger. The birth of Christ is intricately tied to His death and resurrection. Grief is woven into the story, as is hope. This is a season to bring your hope and your pain and lay it at the feet of God incarnate. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you are feeling – God loves you and calls you by name. Make intentional time to focus on “those things that can’t be seen.” Let the peace of Christ lead you to the harmonious fellowship of hope and grief. Let us learn to simply be.
God, see our pain. Lead us to the manger, that we may lay down our humanity as our gift. Let our vulnerability be our prayer which opens us to your love and grace. Amen.
Rev. John Daniel DeBevoise
Associate Pastor for Youth and Campus Ministry
First Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg, SC)
Alum, UKirk Tallahassee