The Weary World Rejoices: A 2020 Advent Devotional

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Introduction: A Strange Season

A famous Christmas carol, “O Holy Night,” has a lyric that might resonate with you this year: “A thrill of hope! The weary world rejoices.”

As we enter the Advent season, do you feel weary? You’re not alone.

You could even say that being weary and worn out is an acceptable place to approach this Advent season. Because Advent exists to remind us that, while darkness surrounds us and troubles exist, the hope of Christmas isn’t far away. 

It may seem distant. It may even seem impossible this year for you to feel hopeful. You might have lost your job. Or maybe you’re feeling isolated from those you love. You may have even grieved the loss of a family member or friend. 

Looking around, all you might be able to see right now is darkness. If you try to adjust your eyes, blinking into the night, there seems to be no light. The weight of sickness, death, injustice and pain seems too heavy.

Or maybe you’re just tired. Numb. Ready to pull the covers over your head and try this whole Christmas cheer thing again next year. Don’t feel guilty. Instead, acknowledge the very real darkness of this world and you’ll have eyes to see Advent through the same lens as the people waiting for a Messiah thousands of years ago.

For 500 years from their last prophet, Malachi, the people of Israel hadn’t heard anything from God about their redeemer. God’s chosen people must have cried out to Him, asking how long it would be before their hope, their salvation, would arrive. It was too dark, and God seemed to be silent. Has He felt that way to you this year? 

Though He may have felt far away to them, God was so much closer than His people knew—gently planning Jesus’ entrance into the world in the most unexpected way. 

Over the next four days, we’ll reflect on four perspectives of those present at the nativity scene. As you lean into these stories, you’re going to discover what you can learn from these characters’ responses to God in the midst of some spectacular but strange and scary circumstances.

Questions for Reflection:

  • How does this Advent season look different than years past?

  • Do you find it hard to be patient when waiting on God’s promises? Why or why not?

  • What characters do you think of when you picture the nativity scene?