Savior of the Nations, Come: December 23, 2021

Savior of the Nations, Come: The Advent 2021 Devotional Book for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them.” -Psalm 145:19 (NRSV)

I challenge you to a crying contest. If I were the betting sort, I’d bet I’d win. A baby, a sunset, the end of a poignant movie. A song from 1968, a letter from a long-lost love, the way trees sway in the breeze—sultry, bending to music too faint for our ears—their palms, fluttering, uplifted to the sky. A memory, a hug, this all-too-pervasive rain. And always, books.

One of the blessings of the pandemic has been the chance to slow down and reassess what it is that sustains us. No, it’s not a full calendar with a dizzying array of social occasions and obligations endemic to this time of year. It’s been the chance to slow down, really look around, savor the smallest moments, and be thankful.
Not that this world—even in this blessed Christmas week—is all lambs and snow and angels. It’s not. Turn on the news and immediately you feel the weight of the world crushing you. Desperate immigrants at borders across the globe, climate disasters, ruthless politicians. Accidents and atrocities, enough to make even the hardest-hearted human cry.

This is why faith-based peoples cry out, in pain and suffering, for themselves and others, to a God who is listening.

This baby, who is to be born yet again in two days’ time into our hearts; this baby, who grew and gave His life for us; this baby, swaddled in filth and love, dichotomies of all of our lives.
And we cry again, Lord, save us.

Dear Lord, as we enter into Holy Christmas, hear our cries for ourselves and for all who stand in need. Amen.
-Ashley Sweeney