“Those Who Weep” by Sarah Bourns Crosby (ATS, ’20, M.Div.)

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Sarah Bourns Crosby is a 2020 graduate of the Master of Divinity program at Alliance Theological Seminary. She is the author of Pandemic Prayers and Poetry, written in 2020. An extended edition of that recently released collection includes nine new poems including her Advent series. “For Those Who Weep,” is one of her four Advent 2021 poems.

 

T H O S E  W H O  W E E P

There were tears that first Christmas
too.

The loud wailing and heaving kind.
The deep groaning and grieving kind.

“Voices heard in Ramah,
Lamentation and bitter weeping,
Rachel grieving,
Refusing to be comforted,
For her children are no more.” *

A collective cry
That filled Bethlehem with despair.
Oh, how could Jesus be there
too?

How could such pain exist
At the same time
In the same town
As Peace?

How could this overwhelming grief
Leave any room leftover
For Joy?

How could their sorrow
Not overshadow
This bright Hope for tomorrow?

How could lament
Live alongside
Love?

But it did.

And it does.

So, too,

Your cries are not a contradiction
To the coming
Of the Christ.

Your fears are not an affront
To the faithfulness
Of the Father.

Your tears need not
Steal away
Your trust.

This Christmas
You have permission to have a broken heart.
You are welcome to weep and to wail.
You are allowed to lament your losses.
Your sorrow is safe in the hands of the Savior.

Because,

Heartache is simply a given in this broken world.

But Joy is Given

By a Good, Good Giver.

So,

May He give you this Christmas,

Grace in the wilderness **
Gladness for sorrow **
Joy for your mourning **
Bright hope for tomorrow. **

{Selah}

May it be so.

* Jeremiah 31
** Also Jeremiah 31. Because pain and peace exist in the exact same place.

Sarah serves as Pastor of Formation at Hope Church Midtown in New York City, where she teaches, mentors and offers spiritual direction.  Her previous ministry roles took her to over 30 countries, providing missionary care, leadership development, and cross-cultural training. She writes both poetry and prose around themes of waiting, hope, mission, justice, lament, and love. Read more of her works here or follow her on Instagram @sarahbournscrosby.