Monday, December 15, 2014

Hope. Peace. Joy.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! And a Happy New Year. 

Now I don't want to be Johnny Rain-cloud here, but I was thinking: what would it be like to receive the news that you have some sort of terminal illness? What would be your first reaction? Would it be a reaction of sadness, anger, dismay, or even confusion? 

Trust me...I am NOT a morbid person. I was just watching the movie God's Not Dead and there is a character in there who receives this very same news. She is told that she has terminal cancer. Her reaction is one of shock (at first). But then her life takes a twist for the worst and she comes undone: she rages and screams in her room one night against this terrible fate dealt to her.  

I can only imagine what that must feel like--to rage and fight against fate itself...and ultimately against God. This person's reaction seems pretty normal. 

This seems like a frightening experience; to be filled with such uncertainty and hopelessness. The world, as this character view it, is dead: there is nothing to live for and there is nothing to die for. Life is filled with darkness and despair--neither of which seem to have a purpose. 

In some way, I guess you could say that I have been feeling a little under the weather. The subject of death doesn't haunt me; rather, the evil in the world is constantly at the back of my mind. 

I see things that shouldn't be happening; Christians being mercilessly beheaded, lies being spread, bombs detonating, disease spreading, and evil prospering. 

However, this time of year (Christmas) always reminds me that there is HOPE. There is PEACE. And there is JOY to be found. These things can't be found in the world.

In the darkest of hours on earth, a light emerges. 
This light is the reason for Christmas.
This light has a name. 
This light is CHRIST.

Consider the lyrics to the following Christmas carol: O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

May this song bring you hope, peace, and joy this year and the following year. 
May the hope of Christ take root in your life. 
May the peace of the Father dry your tears. 
May the joy of Christ's birth rejuvenate you.