Tonight we light two candles. Many churches use the first to represent hope and the second for peace. Two things which I have very little of tonight, if I am being honest.
I hate that I feel this way because I just had a beautiful weekend. My sister got married yesterday. It’s been a week of great joy…and hope and peace. But it’s also been a weak of difficult news (all first world problems that probably shouldn’t have me this upset) which my melancholic, overly emotional self just can’t deal with right now. I sit here tonight exhausted, teary-eyed and feeling defeated.
Christ’s birth reminds us that we do have a great Hope. The promised Prince of Peace stepped down into our broken, weary, bad news-laden world. I think we forget how much political strife, human rights violations, unrest and bad news existed in the time and place into which He arrived. Israel – God’s beloved and chosen people – was subject to a government that did not share her values. Herod, fearing they would rise against him, ordered all boys under two years old be killed. The good news of old is more than enough for today’s trouble, my friends.
But let us be careful that we do not let “good news of great joy” become good luck and mild happiness. The bad news is even worse than the surface level troubles of the day to day. Our world is broken. It’s falling apart. Yes, it shouldn’t be that way, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s going to just “get better” because we’re loved by God and therefore worthy of good things happening to us. Whether they do or not happen our hope is unchanged. The promise holds true.
My current difficulties may reach a happy conclusion but that is not the hope for which He came. Life is hard, and according to what I read in the Bible I think it it going to get a lot worse before it gets unfathomably better.
Our Hope and foundation for Peace, however, is that this world will one day become unfathomably better because of the great work that babe in a manger would one day accomplish. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Revelation 21: 1-4 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Tonight’s Playlist: Advent Hymn (Christy Nockels), He Has Come for Us (Meredith Andrews), We Shall Always Be With The Lord (Ellie Holcomb), Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken (Indelible Grace Music), From the Depths of Woe (Indelible Grace Music)