Sunday, December 12, 2021

Holding onto hope & choosing to rejoice

Lully, lulla, lully, lulla

By by, lully lullay

Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child

By by, lully lullay

The strains of this haunting carol filled the house as we ate breakfast and began dressing for Mass. The irony of it hit me: Here we were on Gaudete Sunday, donning our joyous pink clothing as we listened to a song about Herod’s slaughter of the Holy Innocents. My thoughts flew back to the Christmas Eve Mass when we heard this song for the first time; as we celebrated the joy of Christ’s birth, we listened to this solemn reminder of death.

Herod, the king,

In his raging,

Charged he hath this day

His men of might,

In his own sight,

All young children to slay.

At the time I first heard this, I was taken aback initially. Why recall the death of these innocent children as we celebrate the birth of our Savior? Why let our hearts dwell on something sad during what should be a happy time? But as I listened to the choir that Christmas Eve, I began to think about how fitting it was. There will always be sorrows and sufferings and hardships that we face in this life—but we can still celebrate the joy of God as we look at him through our tear-filled eyes.

Baby Jesus figures for Bambinelli Sunday! 

Today, we gathered to participate in the Liturgy and we rejoiced. The priests and deacon wore rose-colored vestments, words of joy popped out of every Scripture reading and prayer and song, and there was a special blessing for Bambinelli Sunday (made all the more exciting when the power momentarily went out). Joy was palpable, yet after Mass, we recalled the tragedies that have struck our country recently. Shootings, natural disasters, death. So much sorrow, so much suffering.

 Yet, we rejoice.

I know many people who are hurting immensely as we embark on this holiday season. While our family is experiencing tremendous gifts, blessings, and joys, life on this Earth is never without sorrows and difficulties for anyone. However, no matter what we are going through today, it is a beautiful Sunday to recall the hope that God offers…and we choose to rejoice, recognizing that Christ has won the victory.

Gaudete in Domino semper!

 (and really, if you haven’t listened to “Lully, Lulla, Lullay,” it is WELL WORTH listening to on repeat) 


  1. It seems to me that sorrow and joy will always go hand-in-hand during our time here on earth. I think it benefits us to cultivate the skill of clinging to hope and rejoicing amidst tough times. The Christmas season provides so may opportunities for this.

    1. I agree, Shannon! It seems to me like there's this magical "ideal" view of what the Christmas season should look like, but in actuality, the First Christmas (and all of the Christmases ever after) have had plenty of joy and sorrow intermingled.