“And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
In many ways, the complete joy of the Christmas season doesn’t exist. For hatred and violence in our world continually mar the image of a season of Peace. This year alone, twenty families are having a Christmas without their young children; taken away too soon. Some didn’t even believe that this Christmas would even be reached; expecting a devastating worldwide apocalypse. Just this Christmas Eve, a gunman set his house ablaze and, from a sniper position, opened fire on firefighters, killing two and injuring two others; then turned the gun upon himself.
The Unexpected Christmas. Failed apocalypse or not, senseless violence remains rampant. Humanity in its shattered state, ever begetting pain with more pain. The world didn’t end on the 21st, but our slow apocalypse continues.
And while not everyone succumbs to this kind of devastating violence, the potential for it exists in every one of us. Given the exact right conditions, every person has that same capacity for violence, for deceit, for fear, for anger, for despair, for greed. None are innocent. I feel that this is our human condition; perhaps even our inherited sin; not what we do, but what we could do.
“Then ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day.”
But, yet, this day celebrates the One who can redeem all the pain, all the violence, all the suffering; not in part, but in whole. While our walk upon the earth will be wrought with struggle, it will not remain so, for night will revolve to day when we come to know Him. For the day the Lord came to ransom us, He made a promise, a new covenant, and brought flesh to our dry bones that we may know Him. From that day, born and laid into a cradle of wood, Jesus the carpenter began the journey that would result in his finest work; the cross.
For all the pain, the senseless agony of this life and the despair; we have a promise that it will not last forever. A glorious day will come, and our Lord’s might be shown. Until then though, we rest on His promise, His hope, His love, and His faith. And we rest on each other. For every one of us is another weary traveler on this path. We do not bear our burdens alone.
For, it is through each other, and through the small joys that can be found from day to day, that we are able to meet the despair of this world with hope, meet the pain with faith, meet the violence with peace, and meet the brokenness with faith.
“Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep.”
(Casting Crowns “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”)
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I pray that you all are enjoying the holidays, wherever you might be. I consider myself blessed to be part of such an amazing group of people; you are all incredible! I realize that it is because of wonderful people like you all, that I am able to find hope and peace and love in the dark spots of my own life; and I want to thank you all for that. Wherever you might be, whatever the holidays may bring for you, I pray that you are all having a safe and joyful holiday season. I love you all and I look forward to seeing everyone in the spring! God bless, and Merry Christmas!