photo by He Qi
John 17:18 was my advent reading for the day.
Nothing about shepherd or mangers, angels or the sweetness of a newborn babe.
“As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)
Many–I suspect, perhaps most–during the holiday seasons, cannot escape the tension between the pull of the world, of advertisements, of vignettes of perfect family gatherings, and the pull of our hearts toward truth. And yet, into the world we are thrust, like the emergence of Emmanuel, every cell of our beings recoiling at the cold, wet shock of being. Human.
Come thou long expected Jesus …
Followers of more than evergreens and silver bells are more acutely aware than ever of the discomfort, the lie, in fact, that a season, a single day on the calendar, somehow makes brokenness whole … somehow erases injustice … somehow requires the downtrodden to return to the taxing origins of their pain.
Stand still and watch the unfolding of glory in the distant fields, knees bent in the mossy grace of our healing, and the scarred are accused of not following the star.
The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay…
Understandable, the need of the oblivious to throw stones at those with leaky alabaster jars, those whose incense and myrrh have been long spent. Where else, after all, could they catapult their own pain, but at those whose forms are already bent?
Long lay the world in sin and error pining…
Few know that, as John Piper wrote in my advent devotional today, ”God makes every dagger a scepter in our hand.”
A scepter for lighting the way for future generations.
A scepter, lit by the original star, in the darkest of nights, to ignite hope once again.
A scepter which must be chosen, and held with fervor, with doubt, with diligence and with fear.
But a scepter which must be held, just the same.
Fall on your knees!
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine…
Divine is the night, indeed, when the morning comes.
At long, long last.