Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I get a little wistful this time of year, a little bit more each year.
As I live and serve here, on this reservation, on this earth, I long for the hope of Christmas more and more. I long for the realization of what Jesus started when He came the first time; for the completion of His work in the Second Advent. I long for His return, when all will be made new, and the wrongs and the hurts and the pains will be done away with.
This year has seen a lot of hurts. A boy I love and care about deeply is losing his grandmother, who's cared for him best she can since his parents passed. A little girl I came to love as my own has been moving from home to home since she left ours, and I don't know if she's safe, and can't keep her safe. A boy told me the other day at youth group he'd been thinking about hanging himself. And that's only some of the sorrows I've seen in our community. There are other sorrows, too: young black men getting shot by police, a school shooting on another reservation in the state, the deaths and beheadings of Christians and Westerners by ISIS. Our world is sick with sorrow, groaning with the pains of childbirth. Can we look at all of it and endure?
There have been moments where it's been too much. It has seemed like evil is winning, and all of it is futile. The little we can do is surely not enough to stem the tide, not enough to redirect the current. Why persist? The war is lost.
And yet, there is Christmas.
There's a baby. Powerless, helpless. A very little thing, infinitesimal, born to lower classes in the backwaters of the Roman Empire, not even registering on the radar of anyone who mattered. It surely couldn't be enough to stem the tide of evil, could it?
Yet that baby was. That small thing was the one thing that could do it. It was the lynchpin, the cornerstone. It when that baby came into the world that evil lost, albeit it has taken a couple thousand years of the devil thrashing around with his head cut off.
I'm ready for the devil to stop his death throes. I'm ready for the job to be finished. I grow so weary of seeing the devastation sin and evil still is able to thrust upon this world, even after the head's been cut off. I'm ready for the triumphant return - so ready.
My favorite Christmas song remains still "White Horse" by Over the Rhine. Their lyrics of the triumphant return of Jesus on a white horse, come to set all things right, recall the language of the Old Testament prophets who made no distinctions between the First and Second Advents. May we remember always that He didn't just come and die and rise again. While that is certainly the root of our hope, the full realization of our hope and the consummation of our hope is in the Second Advent, the White Horse, the Flaming Sword. He is coming again to finish what He started! While we can remember now what He began as a baby, in humble beginnings, and allow that to give us hope that the small efforts in which we partake now will indeed work His will against evil, we can look forward to the grandiose way in which He shall return - riding in the clouds, sword in hand, to do battle with the devil for the last time.
It'll end. He will win. Come, Lord Jesus.