It’s all around us isn’t it?
We are ALL broken. In one way or another we are/have been broken. At one time or another we ALL will be hurt, we’ll suffer, we’ll have pain, we’ll be overwhelmed.
It builds high walls around us, and we feel like we are sinking, or gasping for breath or being crushed, or pressed. It’s death. We feel it. I feel it.
And it seems like there is no other time that brings us to our most broken self than the Christmas season.
Everywhere I look, from within my own walls to the expanses of the havens. There is darkness that envelopes and says, It is too much, or too painful. It is sooooo hard. It is too overwhelming.
In the night I toss and turn. I wonder and I pray for hope. I wonder, can we have hope? Can we hope when the world is on fire and raging? Can we have hope when our own hearts are in so many little pieces that we are not sure we can even find them all, let alone put them back together? Can we have hope when our own lives or livelihoods hang in the balance?
How do we hope? When all seems so hopeless?
And I think of Eve. Eve was borne into a world of light and perfect fellowship with God. Can you imagine? Perfect fellowship with God. And she gave it all up. And the man with her? Complacently gave up with her. They gave it up! And I think of all the choices I make on a daily bases that break the already broken fellowship I have with God, and I wonder about the Hope?
I Think of Abraham and Sara. Old, childless. Without hope of leaving a legacy. What was all their success worth without a heir? And I think of how we toil and scrape together a living. We don’t have surplus, but we still have so many wants and I wonder where are we placing the value of our legacy?
I think of Moses, David, and the prophets, and all facing challenges much bigger than their own lives. Things that could cost them their very lives. I think of those in my own community. My own circle, who walk brave faced through fire. Wondering if they will really be refined?*
These are the things I lay at my Jesus’ feet. In the dark my heart calls him. The Hope.
Our family observes the Advent. Not because there is any sacredness in the practice. But because, for four weeks. Weeks that no doubt turn into intense battle. I need to have in front of our face the hope that is coming. We need to remember the picture and dance that is so much bigger than what we face today. I need that.
As each trial and tragedy begs for my eyes and my heart. And tries to distract and discourage. That temptation that begs me to curse God and die.*
I need to arm myself with the HOPE that was given. A Savior.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
A small town whose name literally means “The House of Bread.” this place would welcome the one whose origins are from Old. Who pre-exists us all. The bread of life* would be born there. Hope. A prophecy spoken to a king to give him hope in a trial.
“But the thief is still out there” you say. He’s still out there terrorizing and ravaging the hearts and minds of people. I know. I read a blog post once that reminded me that the best way to not let our hope or happiness be stolen is to remember that yes, there is an enemy trying to steal from us. We all know what John 10:10 says. He came that we may have life. But remember the first part of the verse? Here, I’ll let you read it.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Yeah, It’s true, there is a thief trying to steal, and kill and destroy. But hope? Yes, we have hope because He came. Jesus whispered to the world one starry night, and into the existence of the human race. The Ancient one, who pre-existed us all, walked with us. He was born and cried and scraped his knees, and hit his finger with a hammer. He was tempted, and hungered and was homeless. He grieved for loss of those he loved. He grieved for the whole world, for you, for me.
But, he also, left a blessed trail of hope wherever he went. The consolation of Israel.* He left light, he left his words. He broke death and he did it all so that we can have hope.
The first week of Advent is about the Hope. Today I invite you to tell the thief, “NO! You can not steal my hope.”
We have hope because not only did Christ, the Messiah, The Light of the World burst on the scene over 2,000 years ago, he also has gone ahead of us to prepare a place* where there will be no more crying, or mourning, or pain.* Where this broken fellowship that we grasp and cling to will be restored and we will be his people and HE, himself will be our God.*