Stress-Worn to Joyful
by Tina Yeager
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people”
This year has darkened the world like an unnatural, endless night. Like ancient shepherds, writers must strain our eyes to watch the shadows from a distance. We shiver in outcast places, disconnected from the masses who need the spiritual offerings to which we tend. Words stray beyond the grasp of our stress-wearied minds.
For a while, I persevered and tried to offer hope and encouragement for the soul-starved. The darkness persisted in its attack. Motivation and energy waned. I looked forward to doing nothing yet slept restlessly. And I couldn’t see a bright enough reason to rise and write each day.
Meaningless errands consumed my time. None of the usual escapes brought joy. Instead of shining a spiritual light, I laid on the ground in the shadows.
In such a deep abyss, the original messengers of the gospel lay on an isolated hillside. Those shepherds who provided the elements of sacrifice to God’s people shuddered in the darkest of times. They suffered from Herod’s murderous tyranny while foreign oppressors robbed them into starvation—even worse circumstances than our current issues. I imagine those shepherds struggled with the sort of stress and fatigue many message-bearers have experienced this year.
Just as it did for the tattered pastoral folk of the original Christmas story, hope also awaits us.
In the midst of evil’s most chilling shadows, the Lord sent his beacon of joy. Christ’s heralds arrived to those weary workers. And dispelled fear. This hope continues to gleam amid the world’s darkest moments today. Even when I cannot yet see the end of evil’s shadow, the Christmas story assures me of light. He illuminates my work field. And as a word-shepherd, I must share this joy with others.
Light of the world, thank you for shining hope into my soul when my eyes falter. May your Holy Spirit inspire me to carry your good news to others who dwell in this dark and lonely place. Shine your glorious message through me to brighten the world. Amen.
Award-winning author, speaker, licensed counselor, and life coach, Tina encourages audiences to fulfill their potential. She offers writing workshops through Serious Writer Academy, hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast, and is a mentor with Word Weavers International. Beautiful Warrior, her book on women’s esteem is available through New Hope Publishers. To connect with her, visit tinayeager.com.