Merry Christmas, friends. We will soon be sharing in the mystery of all that this season represents . And we do live in a bit of a mystery, no? The mystery of knowing Him in the midst of deep darkness and pain, the mystery of touching the never-ending love of God, the mystery of walking this life in the Spirit, and the mystery of knowing a deep and lasting joy.
Can we lift our heads and hands this Christmas as we process our grief over the events in Newtown, CT.? Ann Voskamp’s blog entry, “Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?” helps me process the mix of emotions. Please read:Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?
And we find that Christ is still worthy of our worship. We find that Christ is worthy of our “all” again.
As you celebrate this advent I’d like to invite you to come and worship with us at Christ Community Church in Charlottesville this Sunday, December 23rd, where I’ll be leading worship with my dear friend, violinist Madi Vest. “Come, let us worship and bow down … let us kneel before our Lord and Maker. And give Him our most excellent of praise.”
I do sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas.
I have been anticipating the Advent celebration of “JOY” for weeks! Joy has providentially been restored to me in a deep and sustaining way, an answer to an ache and cry of my heart during my low point a few years ago. Touching on this theme both formally and corporately makes more sense to me now than ever before. When in darkness or depression, joy can seem unattainable or lofty or unreachable. If you find yourself in that place, keep praying for the Lord to “restore the joy of your salvation.” I have faith for the restoration of joy in others because it has been restored in me. I have truly been “Surprised by joy!” (see Wordsworth’s poem below).
Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
by William Wordsworth
Advent is upon us … and with each Advent season, my sensitivities to the tension of the ‘already but not yet’ are heightened greatly.
Each year during Advent / Christmas we celebrate the coming of Jesus to earth ~ His birth ~ (an event that has already happened), while simultaneously calling out to this same man, Jesus, to come again! You’ll hear it in the lyrics of the songs we sing: ”Come, thou long expected Jesus,” “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel,” and “Come, Messiah, King!”
In celebration of what has already happened (Jesus’ birth), there is an intense longing for the return of the King. We know that with His return will be the administration of perfect justice. And in this tension of the ‘already but not yet,’ in the waiting for His return, and realizing to a small degree the ‘justice’ that will come, and knowing His beautiful and most perfect heart, we can say with all surety, “We trust you, Jesus.”
Please come, Messiah King!