I got behind in my Bible study, Jesus the One and Only, so today, just 10 days before Christmas, I am reading about the Betrayal, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion. It's a little bit strange, and yet the news reminds me that this is life. Christmas carols and funeral marches playing in counterpoint. Bitter herbs and sweet wine. Tears and thanksgiving. Redemption and waiting. And I feel like I've written all this before. And I have. But it's just becoming more and more real to me. 27 dead in Connecticut shooting, most of them children. What a broken, crazy world we live in! Bitter herbs reminding us of the bondage and the fall and the need for a savior. And in some strange way, the joy of Christmas shines a little brighter against the darkness for me today.
I was singing "O Christmas Tree" to my kindergartners yesterday and we were talking about evergreens and how people began decorating these trees during the winter to remind them of hope and the fact that spring was coming. Though it gets too cold for many of the trees to keep their leaves, the leaves of evergreen trees stay green and never fall. They don't know the depth of it all, but someday they will. I grieve today for families who have lost so much and children whose innocence has been so badly marred. Yet by some miracle, I find my heart rejoicing because Christ has come and He has redeemed us. The Lamb of God fulfilled the plan of redemption, and he has saved and is transforming and sanctifying all those who are willing to accept His gift. No matter how bitter cold evil makes this world, that Tree stands as a reminder of hope. Spring is coming. Maranatha. The Lord comes. The Lord came on Christmas, the cross in clear view, and He is coming again. We, His Body, live as a reminder.
And I ask the questions too. If you are with us, God, and you heal wounds and bind up the brokenhearted, if you win, what keeps you from ending all of this? If you came to redeem the world, why are you waiting so long to come again? I don't have answers and I wouldn't dare try to give one, but I know God is good because He came and saved us, and He will come again. So I cry, "Lord, come quickly. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth and it is in Heaven." And I cry, "How long, O Sovereign Lord?!" But amid the cries, I hear the call: Child of God, rise up! Live love, and live slow. Watching all this through the eyes of one called to teach humbles me. These precious lives God has entrusted me with! I will have an impact on them whether I like it or not, and I pray that God will equip me and the Holy Spirit will fill me and that no matter how crazy life gets, I won't miss it. I don't want to miss looking into the eyes of those precious little ones and loving them and nurturing them into the people they will become. I don't want to miss it with my kids; I don't want to miss it with anyone I come in contact with!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Let us live pure religion by remaining unpolluted in this broken world. Let us not forget the things these days are stirring in us, the desire to hold our children tighter and recognize the value of life, the desire to be more like Jesus. He came. He showed us how to Live. He died. He set us free to Live. He rose again. He showed us we would Live forever. He is coming again. He gave us hope to Live. Let us Live!