That's how I feel. The last 96 hours have been such a mix of emotions for so many people and I just feel the type of heavy that makes it almost impossible to breath.
I cannot imagine how those that lost loved ones on Friday must feel. The best that I can hope for them is to still be in the stages of numbing loss. My brain can't fathom what they feel now and in the days to come. Or forever for that matter. I'm guessing that heavy doesn't even begin to touch on what they feel on a good day.
On Saturday morning some of the crush that my chest felt the day before was lifted. Spending a few hours watching foster and adopted children experience a Christmas party thrown in their honor was a welcomed break from the media. There were smiles, giggles, cute Christmas dresses with plaid skirts, and cupcakes to decorate til their heart's content. There were real reindeer, and wish lists, and there was even dancing. A cheesy song that usually causes me to turn the station, made me stop and smile and soak in the moment of adults dressed as reindeer and snowmen dancing with a few kids as the lyrics "we need a little Christmas, right this very minute" rang through the room. We did need a little Christmas. We needed a break from the sadness, as selfish as that sounds. But it's true. We needed to see and touch real reindeer, we needed to see the magic of Santa climbing into his sleigh, and we needed to see children dance with abandon. Right that very minute.
Christmas is magical in its core. Christmas is a miracle in its simplest form. Regardless of what we've made it, Jesus came on "Christmas" to give us life, light, and hope.
The one Christmas carol line that ALWAYS speaks to me, regardless of who is singing, is from my favorite carol O Holy Night. Those words "A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn" get me every single time.
It's such a powerful word. When I hear that line I'm both sad and hopeful at the same time. The sad part of me awakens because I get it. I feel it. There's just so much "weight" around us on a daily basis that is taxing on a soul. But then it also makes me hopeful that someone wrote this song in the 1800's and they were apparently weary too, which makes my weariness feel known, recognized and almost validated. There's something about a shared sense of worn combined with hope that can comfort across the decades and even centuries. Times have changed, but hearts have not and I connect with that. Every single time I hear those words.
We're weary at best right now. I don't know about anyone else, but rejoice isn't what I'm inclined to do today. Worry and fear, those seem a bit more close to the vest as I type.
So what do we do? How do we combat the worn and weary with hope and light and life?
My guess is that we cling to the true Christmas. To the meaning behind the trees and presents and the lights and carols. My guess is that we hold on tight to the promise of a new morn. A morn that's a bit less heavy than the one before it. My guess is that when it feels like we can't take a deep breath, we do it anyway and we do it for those that cannot anymore.
And my guess is that we pray. We pray for the original light and hope and peace that the Lord came to bring.
We do need a little Christmas, right this very minute, but we need Jesus more. Only He can take us from weary and heavy to light and life.