Dec. 15: A time of lament
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Every year I get myself pumped up for the winter season. Then it gets here and I immediately remember that I actually do not like the winter because it is just too cold and wet. I then become annoyed and upset, and every breath of wind and every snowflake I scowl at.
I love the book of Psalms because of the form of lament. For those who don’t know what lament is, it is a type of Psalm that expresses anger toward God, usually ending in praise. When the Advent season comes along, I do get grumpy every year. I think it’s because of the cold and the wind, the consumerism that is going around and the end-of-the-semester blues. I start to complain to God that I want the year to be over so a new one can start. But then, every year, I realize that for me and other people, Advent can be one big prayer of lament. We can go through the entire season complaining about something that’s happening in our lives. Then as our lives start to slow down a little bit, and we can spend time with the family in a warm home, we start to praise God a little more. Then, when Christmas Day comes, we recognize God fully. This becomes the end of the lament.
Even though complaining to God isn’t always the best thing, I just encourage you on this day to write your own lament, which ends in praising Emmanuel for what you have been given.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NRSV)
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!
Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.
Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.
Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.