Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hope for the Hurting

   It happened. Despite my best intentions, it still happened. I bought almost all my gifts early (thank you, online shopping). I made lists. I was intentional about doing seasonal and spiritual activities with my kids. I vowed to not stress about little things like my house being in perfect condition for guests. A little grace goes a long way, towards both others and myself. 

 And yet here I am, on Christmas Eve, and things have certainly been less than perfect. The day has been more stressful than not, and I am guilty of having a slightly shorter fuse with those I Iove in the last couple of days. I often wonder why an occasion like this lends itself to that. Something as joyous at its core and magical in appearance as Christmastime so often is accompanied by stress and heartache. And I know it's not just me! But I think I finally figured it out. For those who did years ago, y'all just nod and smile and bear with me. I am a little slow. 
     The reason it is like this is because of the tension we feel, deep down in the depths of our being, between What Is, and What Should Be. 

    I was reminded tonight that that is why Jesus came. To reconcile us to himself. To make it possible for a dirty, messy, unclean people to stand before him white as snow. I don't know about you, but I need that. My life is not perfect. It is a mess of tangled threads that I have confidence will one day be woven into something beautiful, at the Last Day. 

So, Merry Christmas--joyously. And with anticipation and longing for what is to come. 

Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee

Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Joy to those who long to see thee
Day-spring from on high appear
Come thou promised Rod of Jesse
Of Thy birth we long to hear

O'er the hills the angels singing
News glad tidings of a birth
Go to him your praises bringing
Christ the Lord has come to earth

Come to earth to taste our sadness
He whose glories knew no end
By his life he brings us gladness
Our Redeemer Shepherd Friend

Leaving riches without number
Born within a cattle stall
This the everlasting wonder
Christ was born Lord of all

Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a King
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring

By Thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

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