Adoration of the Shepherds Gerard van Honthorst (1622)

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1622)

I hear the music, the familiar carols and melodies. And we sing it again, I sing it – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

When will he come? When will he come to this world that is continuously full of the grievous and the painful?

I watch the battery drain on this laptop and feel the joy and energy sapped– the daily headlines bring me to my knees in heartbreak and prayer.

But I don’t need the headlines for that. The heartbreak, the loss, the grief, the pain, it is in me, my life, and in you, and in your lives, and the lives of those around us. We all have our seasons, our own storms, our own sorrows– our own personal headlines.

And we all are asking, the whole world is asking, whether it recognizes it or not, “When, Jesus, when? When will all of this cease? When will you come?”

It feels wrong because it was not meant to be. Because it is wrong. We were not meant to be separated, to have this chasm between God and us. To live like enemies with swords and guns drawn, human against human, or to have this gulf separating God and us. From that chasm rise the groans of mankind, reaching our ears, and reaching heaven.

He does hear our cries. People dealing with the “C” word. People dealing with senseless death. People dealing with the loss of everything imaginable. People driven from their homes. People driven to tears. People crying over personal losses and struggles. All around us. And in our own homes. And us. We are all part of it, this groaning, this crying out, this pain, this loss, this loneliness.

Is there any Safe Place? Any Safe Person?

Yes. The answer is Yes.

As walkers of the way, we are also part of something bigger, something hopeful. Thankfully, the story does not end with heartbreaking headlines, or the heartbreak in our own homes.

A star burned one night, leading wise men from the East. It led those people who were accustomed to seeking. People accustomed to the night sky. People accustomed to wondering. People accustomed to looking upward toward the heavens. God sent a message about a Person of Hope. Someone is Here. Can you imagine the wonder of that star, that light? What sort of breathtaking, mysterious spectacle it was?

In the midst of the horrific, in the midst of whatever ugly the world heaps, that is not the End of the Story. That is the Beginning. He creates a Beginning, out of Sin. Our Ends are Beginnings.

The Ugly is only one side of the coin, because Beauty is on the Other Side.
For the Chasm, there is a Person.
For the Sin, there is a Grace-Giver, a Redeemer, a Savior.

He has come. He is Here. God is With Us, he is “Emmanuel”.  While chaos erupts around us, we are in a Safe Place. A place of Rest. A haven of Peace. He came to bring us that Rest and that Peace. He came to Love, not Divide.

The Message of who he is- that is what the world is longing to hear. What the world would not give for peace, for hope, for war to cease, for reconciliation– among nations, among racial and ethnic groups, and among our own households!

Am I accustomed to seeking? Are you?

He is the Beginning
He is the Other Side
He is Hope
He is the Safe Place
He is Rest
He is Peace

This is the message I need to know. This is the Present I need under the Tree. These are the gifts I want to unwrap.


Sharing with Laura at Playdates with God, Jennifer at #TellHisStory, Lyli at Thought-Provoking Thursday and Holley at Coffee for Your Heart.