December 11, 2022

The Candle of Joy

Advent Devotional—Week Three

by Sarah Bourns Crosby

The Christian tradition of Advent is a season of both remembrance and looking ahead, of waiting and stillness. Whether you use this devotional guide over the dinner table, with a small group, or individually, we pray it will enrich your life in Christ this Advent season. For those who wait, wander, and weep, for those experiencing loss, longing, and love this Christmas—may you come to know afresh that He is with you. 


Psalm 126; Jeremiah 31; Matthew 2:1–18


A poem for those who weep

There were tears that first Christmas 

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

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

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.

Heartache is simply a given in this broken world.
But joy is given 
By a good good Giver.

May He give you this Christmas
Grace in the wilderness**
Gladness for sorrow**
Joy for your mourning**
Bright hope for tomorrow.**

*Jeremiah 31
** Also Jeremiah 31—because grief and joy can exist at the exact same time.


As Psalm 26 describes, sometimes our tears water the seeds that lead to new life. How have you seen your grief give way to joy?

Or if you haven’t yet, how might your sorrow begin to bring forth greater strength and new hope for tomorrow?

Where could you look for flourishing from what you thought was dead? 

How could your weeping lead to a great harvest for reaping instead? 

Sarah Bourns Crosby writes poetry around themes of hope, waiting, lament, love, and God’s faithfulness. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, Paul, and twin sons. You can read more of her work at

Click here to download the full advent devotional by Sarah Bourns Crosby, Love Is Here.