Wednesday, Dec. 14:
AM Psalm 119:49-72; PM Psalm 49, ;
Zech. 3:1-10; Rev. 4:1-8; Matt. 24:45-51
Some have argued that bringing children into this world remains the church’s greatest witness to the hope of resurrection. What else could provide anyone with the hope or justification to bring life into this world? Advent is a time where the hope of that resurrection becomes embodied for us in the person of Jesus Christ. And even as we meditate upon the mystery of the Incarnation, the form of God in Mary’s womb, any discussion of Christ necessarily occurs with the Cross on the periphery. So Advent and Christmas are not simply occasions where we forget death or its power, but instead we remember the testimony of life in direct witness to that power.
We are a church intimately acquainted with death. This community has lost fathers, mothers, siblings, spouses, and even little ones, while still others grieve the inability to bring life into this world. With our bitter memories and raw wounds we might be justified in becoming despondent, apathetic, or grief stricken to the point of hopelessness. Sometimes death is simply too much.
And yet in our closing prayers on Sunday something miraculous happens in our church. Little children flood our sanctuary. Always laughing, they come pouring into a sacred space before a God who promises to make all things new, before a God who promises that we will know peace. Christians are people shaped by those promises, so even their children become an embodied witness to hope. This is possible because God did the same. He embodied hope. In a world all too acquainted with death, He offered His Only Son, allowing Him to taste death so that we may have life.
This Advent marks the mystery of this love, a love unable to bow to the threat of death, even death on a Cross. In the depth of that love rests our joy. It is not a joy dependent upon the absence of suffering or freedom from pain. It is a joy that perhaps the world may know Immanuel, and find in Him all that has been l
(Today’s exercise: If you have children or nephews and nieces or grandkids or neighborhood kids or your friends have children, take a moment to call or write or text them a note of encouragement. Tell them in person if that’s possible. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Remind them that they are a gift to the Body of Christ and say a prayer for them.)