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There are lingering concerns about Covid to be sure, but it also seems like we are emerging from the pandemic and at least some of the fallout—like a bear might emerge from its hibernation. We’re entering the winter season on the one hand, and yet on the other hand we are emerging from the winter that was Covid. And, with that emergence, there can be a weariness that comes right alongside the relief and gratitude.

Celebrating Christmas is feeling more familiar. And yet, familiar is tricky. Yes, we can get into a kind of Christmas auto-pilot mode and miss Jesus who is the reason for the season. But, that’s not quite the point at the moment. Sadness can creep in with the familiar, even the festivities, can’t it? Fond memories can be turned to grief in the midst of loss. So much has changed since the last time we had a familiar Christmas. Weariness can grow as we go through it.

On the other hand, the return of a more familiar Christmas celebration can revive the significance and meaning of the people and the things that are so important. For example, consider the Christmas carol “O Holy Night.”

O Holy Night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

That phrase hasn’t stood out like that before, and I think the weariness of the last season underscored the significance of it. It has become a prayer and a longing. There is an opportunity to intentionally take joy in every twinkling light and sparkling ornament and every gift from and to a loved one and the wonder and excitement of a child and memories of life and loved ones passed and each crack of a smile and fit of laughter—every good and perfect gift from God. And, all the while, the weary soul is rejoicing and being revived by harnessed blessings.

 Indeed, let’s let our weary souls be revived in those ways—and more. What is the gift that the Christmas carol points our weary souls to? “Till He appeared”—Christ has appeared.

 You might remember the story of Simeon (Luke 2:22-35). He was an old and devout man in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit showed him that he would live to see the Christ. And, he did. Simeon’s waiting and weary soul rejoiced as he saw and held Jesus.

 What if you and I saw and held Jesus in our hearts like Simeon did? Yes, enjoy every good gift of the Christmas season. But, enjoy the appearance of Jesus in a special way—one that will more fully lead our weary souls to rejoice and be revived.

In the spirit of Simeon seeing and holding Jesus, here are some important Scriptures about the significance of Christ’s coming in person to seek and to save. See and hold Jesus with the eyes and the embrace of your heart—that is, let your weary soul rejoice:

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:4-7).

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:1-3).

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).