No white Christmas for us. But it is raining, and the sad, gray sky matches a corner of melancholy inside me.
Tonight families will gather round in Christmas colourful living rooms strung together by smiles and laughter, and children will sleep breathless for the morning when they'll tear through wrapping to childhood memories. Tomorrow we'll feast at tables laid with variety and spice and every good thing to fill us up with all we've ever wanted.
And though I treasure tradition and carry with me fond memories of eighteen Christmases that have been picture perfect (according to American standards of nostalgia) there is a nagging twinge of sadness, a pinprick of pain, for the billions around the world who will never know Christmas and certainly not spend it like us.
Millions on the verge of starvation in Somalia. Countless orphans suffering through AIDS in every third world country on earth. Young girls in southeast Asia whose bodies are bought and sold while their hearts are wholly neglected. Children used and abused by the ones who were meant to protect them. Children who were not even counted worthy to enter the world at all.
And it all makes laughter at Christmas pierce my heart right through.
But nothing can quench joy, because we have hope on this day, as on all days.
Jesus has come.
Our broken world, was dying for a saving, a rescuing, and for thousands of years we waited in anticipation of the Promised One. Prophets proclaimed His coming, and then for four hundred years we heard nothing.
And we were tempted to despair. But there were some who still hoped.
And into the silent, violent, undeserving world the Word was delivered.
Jesus. Because He will save His people from their sins.
And He died and He lives and every year on December 25th families gather round in Christmas colourful living rooms strung together by smiles and laughter.... and I hope we remember the Hope.
That even when underneath the wrapping and outside the light strung homes everything is falling apart, there is hope. Because He came as the Miracle of miracles once - God made flesh to piece together our brokenness and to shine light into our darkest, most melancholy corners - and He promised to come back again.
If He came once, He'll come again.
And so much of our world is still broken, still dying for a saving, for a rescuing, and for 2,000 years we've waited in anticipation of the Promised One returning. Prophets, apostles, have proclaimed His coming, but for hundreds of years we seem to hear nothing.
And many have been tempted to despair. But I want to be one who still hopes.
That into the silent, violent, undeserving, bleeding world, the Word will be released to be our deliverance.
Jesus. Because He still saves His people from their sins.
And He saved me.
Jesus, who was Baby and is now Coming King, thank you for being our Hope. Thank you for a set aside day to reflect in hope and to bask in the soft light of assurance. Thank you for the undeserved blessing of family and all this foretaste of wholeness in my own life. Thank you for eyes that see pain and a heart sensitive to sadness because it presses me into dependence on Hope, on You.
You've been promised, and we've been waiting. Come, King Jesus. Come fill all our empty spaces and bind up all our shattered shards. Wipe away our tears and heal the wound that is us. Only hope keeps us from dissolving into nothing. But even You delivered into our nothing will become everything we need.
Happy birthday, Jesus.