[a] If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!
Mountains would quake before you
2 like fire igniting brushwood or making water boil.
[b] If you would make your name known to your enemies,
the nations would tremble in your presence.
3 When you accomplished wonders beyond all our expectations;
when you came down, mountains quaked before you.
4 From ancient times,
no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any god but you
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him![c]
5 You look after those who gladly do right;
they will praise you for your ways.[d]
But you were angry when we sinned;
you hid yourself when we did wrong.[e]
6 We have all become like the unclean;
all our righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag.
All of us wither like a leaf;
our sins, like the wind, carry us away.
7 No one calls on your name;
no one bothers to hold on to you,
for you have hidden yourself from us,
and have handed us over[f] to our sin.
8 But now, Lord, you are our father.
We are the clay, and you are our potter.
All of us are the work of your hand.
9 Don’t rage so fiercely, Lord;
don’t hold our sins against us forever,
but gaze now on your people, all of us:
10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a wasteland.
11 Our holy, glorious house,
where our ancestors praised you,
has gone up in flames;
all that we treasured has become a ruin.
12 After all this, will you hold back, Lord?
Will you keep silent and torment us so terribly?
This prayer of lament could have been written for our own time. The exiles had returned from captivity in Babylon to find Jerusalem lying in ruins, and an uncertain future in front of them. In this lament they called out to God to save them. They know that Yahweh saves those who wait on the Lord. In our grief at the injustice of the state of the world, we too want to cry out to God to “tear open the heavens and come down!” We want God to solve the problems we
have created by our sinfulness, our failure to love God and our neighbor. Like the writer of Isaiah, we may think that God has abandoned us to deal with the challenges of life alone.
It’s no wonder people find it difficult to feel the Christmas spirit, that sense of joy and wonder. Many of us have lost loved ones or are dealing with health issues, or have fractured family situations. Christmas may only remind us of what we have lost, while all around us we believe everyone else is happy-which isn’t true. Our lives change so rapidly we often can’t keep up with what is happening to us, we focus on the past, and are blind to the possibilities of the future.
That emptiness, that yearning, is our spirit seeking reconnection with God.
If you feel this way, you aren’t alone. Before Christmas, we have Advent. Advent isn’t Christmas celebration. Advent is a time spent in expectant waiting and anticipation for the coming of the savior. Advent is a time for us to try to see beyond the situation we’re currently in, and to get ready to glimpse the future the Lord has promised us. We may not feel the joy right now, but we know that the promise of joy is on the horizon. Advent is a time of yearning for the
presence of God in our lives, and even though we may not feel it, we find that God has been with us all along.
by Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Years ago, our family experienced a tragedy close to Christmas that altered our lives in ways that are still unfolding. Blue Christmas didn’t begin to cover how we felt. But I have found that it’s in times of darkness that we are better able to see the light, and it’s in waiting and yearning to feel God’s presence that, in time God’s presence is felt, both by waiting in silence and through my faith community that reached out to my family.
Are you experiencing a Blue Christmas? Are you yearning for God’s presence? Wait on the Lord. God is with you always, even when you can’t feel it. God loves you and will see you through the darkness. Let God mold you like clay into the child of God that you are meant to be. If you aren’t experiencing a Blue Christmas yourself, look for people who are, call or text them, send a card, visit them. Surround them with love so they can experience the presence of God
through us, the faith community.
Prayer: Holy and Loving God, we yearn for your presence. Strengthen us as we wait for our Savior Jesus. Help us to surround others with your love so they can experience your presence through the faith community. Amen.