But the angel said unto them…….
Today a mother lays her son to rest.
Do not be afraid for I bring you tidings of great joy…….
Today a father kisses his littler girl goodbye for the last time.
Which will be for all the people.
Today a child sits in a cell, alone and afraid.
For today in the city of David…….
Today a wife will leave her wedding ring on the pillow.
There has been born to you a Savior…….
Today a man will lose his life because he will not renounce his faith.
Who is Christ the Lord.
Today a life will be broken. Today a spirit will be torn. Today a family will be broken. Today tears will run like rivers and fill the seas of broken hearts. Today some will wonder what the wonder of this season is. Today faith will be tested, strained and maybe broken. Today, in this week of joy where the pink candle of Advent is lit.
Today often feels far from joy. We tend to wonder, when we’re faced with trials and tears, where God is. Why he has so seemingly abandoned us. We wonder if he is even watching this menagerie on Earth, because it is so difficult to hear his voice.
El-Roi: The God who sees.
But sweet friend, He does see. He sees when you are hurting and struggling. He understand the pain that you feel and recognizes the depth of your loss. He felt each one on the cross. He knows your heartache and your mistakes. He sees your tears, and he counts each one. And he hurts right along with you.
Yahwey-Rapha: The Lord who heals.
We have burdens of sorrow that weigh on our hearts and our souls like a cancer. We have diseases that riddle our bodies and our minds. We have friends and loved ones whose passing will be marked by this season where we are to feel joy, and yet sorrow will flood our heart. But Jesus, Jesus heals. He heals not only the carries of your body but the vanquishing of your soul. He heals not just the war-ravaged mind but the war-ravaged flesh. He covers each wound with a bandage of his love and grace. He is the usher of life-he calls forth the first wail and carries the last breath. And sometimes he calls us home.
Yahwey-Shalom: The Lord our Peace.
He is the keeper of all peace. He is the nurse of broken hearts and the grace of each morning. He sees the wars of this world and knows that one day it will all be washed in His glory. That he will return again, a warrior for his people and bring peace.
Emmanuel: God with us.
He came the first time, not as a warrior. Not as a mighty tower of power and strength. But as a baby. Wrapped in swaddling clothes in the humblest of all places. Kings and shepherds alike were called to him. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. He walked this earth as a toddler, a child and a man. He experienced the gamete of human trials and emotions. He died the death of a common thieve-though he had done no wrong.
And he did it for you. For me. And he would have done if for only you or only me if that’s what we needed. He would have died a thousand deaths to bring one child home to him. But only one was required. He took the cup of judgement and wrath and he drank it fully so that we don’t have to.
And he is with us still. What joy there is in that!
This week of Advent, as the stresses of the season seem to mount we are meant to feel joy. We are called to prepare our hearts, not our trees, for the coming of the Savior. We are asked to recognize the Light of the World through the darkness that may hover over our spirit.
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a heavenly host, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!”.
This gift that was given to us is far more than a token. This is the gift of peace. The gift of joy. The gift of hope. The gift of salvation. It is the ultimate gift that can be given: a child, a life.
He is the God who sees us, in all our joy and sorrow. He is the God who heals us, from our broken heart to our broken body. He is the God who brings us peace in this shattered world. And though he walked this world as a man 2,000 years ago, he is Emmanuel and with us still.
I don’t know what sorrows you face this season or what heartaches are holding you tight. But I pray that in this week of joy, you feel the Savior wrap you in his arms and love on you. I pray that you find peace in the chaos and joy in the preparation.
Blessings to you and yours.