It’s that time of year. Yes, it’s Christmas time. Yes, it’s Advent time. But it’s also school performance time. Band performances, choir performances, school plays, dance recitals—all of the performances, right now!
Recently, I attended my daughter’s school choir performance. She’s in the sixth grade and loves the choir. I’m so thankful she loves it, and I was excited to see her perform doing something she loves. Now let me be honest about something (and maybe you feel the same way)…In this hour-long choir performance, my daughter was on the stage for about 12 minutes, leaving 48 minutes of random kids who I don’t know. Now during those other 48 minutes, I sometimes-maybe-might find myself looking at my phone. I admit it. I don’t watch the entire performance. I just can’t.
Weeping in a High School Auditorium
During those other 48 minutes, I had a moment with God. It’s odd that He chose this Christmas choir performance, and it was even odder that I was sitting next to some teenage boy I had never met. I began to scroll through Instagram, but I only made it to the first two posts. There was no scrolling that night.
The first post was from a woman I have never met. Even so, I have hurt so deeply for her over the past year and a half. We’ve communicated over Instagram a few times, and I’m already ready to call her a friend. She lost her husband to suicide almost 18 months ago, and I have hurt so deeply with her from afar as a stranger. On this particular night, she posted a video of the two of them on their wedding day, and she wrote: “As I sit at the cemetery on our anniversary, I struggle to find the answers. I’m still learning how to live with a broken heart. I’m still learning how to walk with a limp. I’m still learning how to find peace here.”
I wept. Right there in the high school auditorium. Right next to the teenage boy I had never met.
The second post was from a man I met because his wife, who was a friend of mine, suddenly passed away a little over 18 months ago. Under a picture of him and his wife, he wrote: “Just reminiscing and thinking about all that God has given me. Thankful despite the pain.”
I wept again. Still in the auditorium. Still sitting next to the teenage boy I had never met.
During that choir performance, God gently reminded me and moved my heart for the realities of so many of my friends this holiday season, and frankly, every single day of their lives. It’s difficult. There is so much pain. Life doesn’t seem fair. We aren’t actually in control of our days here on this earth.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Hurt
I found myself alone in my kitchen that night after my kids were in bed, and the tears wouldn’t stop. I was so deeply sad with my two friends. Their pain hurt me more that night than it had in a long time, and what I felt was only a small drop compared to the ocean that they experience every single day. I let myself weep for these friends, and I began to pray for them. Petitioning Jesus on their behalves felt so good and so right. They are my brother and sister in Christ. Their pain does matter to me. Their hurts do concern me.
This December as the holiday parties rage on, the performances and activities keep going, and the presents keep arriving, I urge you to take a moment and be like Jesus when He wept with Martha and Mary over Lazarus to weep with those who weep. You have to be living under a rock to not see the hurt in the lives of those around you. Don’t miss it. Don’t shy away from it. Don’t be scared of it. There are people all around you learning how to walk with a limp this December. Let’s not forget them.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
Want to read more from Jamie Ivey? Check out some of her other LifeWay Voices post.