1 When the LORD brought back the captives to [a] Zion,
we were like men who dreamed. [b]
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, [c] O LORD,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
After Christmas, I am generally overwhelmed by how I feel. It’s like a trapeze artist swinging from one trapeze to the next…how they feel in the middle. I wonder how I’m supposed to feel – sad that Christmas is over, happy that it was so blessed, ready and/or anxious about the new year? What do we feel? There’s a mourning in my heart when Christmas is over. For a few days out of the year, peace is prominent amongst many people. And after those few days are over, chaos begins again right where it left off. For a few days everything is right with my world (or at least I can pretend it is), and the joy of Christmas blinds me to my troubles. The thing about Christmas is that it does give us joy, joy in celebrating Christ’s birth, joy in giving to others, but that joy should continue throughout the year. We should always remember the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Surely if you do not believe in him as our Savior, you have been affected in some way by someone who does (hopefully, in a good way). That in itself produces some belief.
The pastor of our local church preached a wonderful sermon on the above Psalm yesterday. He said, “Joy is a matter of coming home.” Where is our joy after Christmas? We often live with the myth that joy is something to be obtained, and then life will be easier – it will be all downhill. But joy is something we should have no matter the circumstances and it should last…but it doesn’t. We have ups and downs. We have anger and sorrow. We stray from God’s grasp and are called home.
The pastor said that joy always involves going home and it always involves planting seeds. We often wait to plant seeds until we’re in the optimal position (emotionally, financially, etc.), but we should plant seeds in any position. In order to find our ultimate joy, though, and the capacity to sow seeds, we must go home. We know where the house is, but we don’t come home. Planting seeds, forgetting about ourselves…that is where the joy is. We absolutely cannot plant those seeds unless we go home to God. I hope that God calls me back to Him, that He will not ever let me stray too far from His grasp. I hope that, like the captives in the psalm that I can sow in tears and in laughter and that I will reap great joy.