Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

I attended a funeral today. There were still decorative banners hanging at the front of the church... A beautiful silhouette depiction of the nativity—parents and Child—on one side of the church, and another of the traveling wise men on the other. You can picture them in your mind, I'm sure, along with the lovely evergreen tree laden with Crismon ornaments. I was struck by how out of place the urn seemed, carefully placed on the table, front and center, amid all that festive Christmas pageantry.

But then it occurred to me.

This is ultimately what Christmas is all about. In the end, the incarnation of God into a little Babe—who really was born, and lived, and died, and was risen from the dead—truly is the whole point.

We are lost in our sins, desperately in need of a Savior. Enter Jesus, stage left. Born of a virgin. In a stable. Lauded only by shepherds, the outcasts of their society.

And so all my "Christmas celebrating" was interrupted by a funeral. My dear friend's Christmas celebrating was interrupted by a terrible accident, and her son was taken away, just like that.

Sometimes it's all joy and pageantry and celebration. 
The wedding. 
The birth. 
The holiday du jour. 

This time it was Christmas. 
Christmas Eve, to be exact. 
A Son being given
To save the world from their sins,
Or something like that. 

A little too much celebration. 
Libations abounding. 
Lack of judgement. 

A decision to walk home
Is always a better choice. 
A safer choice, 
At least according to MADD. 

But not this time. 
Not this day. 
Not this Eve, when Son is given.
And son is taken. 
In one step off the curb
At the wrong moment. 

And, you know, the thing is
That all is not calm. 
And all is not bright. 
And no one is sleeping tonight. 

How do we find that heavenly peace
In the midst of something like this?
When we want to run
And hide
And scream
And cry. 
And we do, until there's nothing left to give. 

And in that brokenness, we find the point. 
Find the place of emptiness that can be filled, 
For a full cup can hold nothing.
Can receive nothing
But an empty one knows its need
And a broken one, even more so. 

I don't really love broken and empty. I don't like crying until I can't breathe and my eyes are swollen shut. I don't want pain and grief and a perpetual knot in my stomach and a perpetual lump in my throat. But these are the things of life sometimes. This is reality. Sometimes it isn't all calm and bright. And thank God He meets us in those moments! Thank God He came for moments such as these.

*Entry 4, The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge
The title is a line from the Christmas carol "Silent Night" by Franz Gruber.

No comments: