They Were No More
This is Advent season. It's the anticipation of the promised Messiah, the prophesied light coming into the world. The lights on the trees and hanging from our homes signify that light in the darkness. The darkness is bleak, it's deep and overwhelming.
My baby daughter is nineteen months old. She is stacking blocks, climbing everything, laughing as she has learned to run and smiling when I hold her. She understands me when I ask her to help put her books away, throw away trash, and giggles when I say, "I love you." She squeals and sucks in air in amazement when we open packages delivered for Christmas. She is full of joy as she makes everyday discoveries. She is not yet two.
There is an often overlooked story surrounding Jesus' birth. Matthew tells of Herod's anger when he was outsmarted by the Magi. He declared every child in Bethlehem and its vicinity under the age of two to be put to death. I looked at my smiling daughter after reading that passage. She smiled and said, "Daa-eee" (Matthew 2:13-18).
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
The thick oily darkness is coiling to strike.
This time of year doesn't carry the warmth and light of the holiday for everyone. For many, this time of year is a dark reminder of pain from the past. Like the Grinch, the joy of Christmas is lost. The venom of a dark past poisons souls. Memories may bring you down or break your heart.
I want to encourage you, the darkness didn't destroy the hope we celebrate. "The night is darkest just before the dawn (Thomas Fuller, 1650)." Joseph took his family to safety in Egypt and returned years later to Nazareth fulfilling the prophecy "He will be called a Nazarene." God had a plan communicated through His prophets hundreds of years before.
Though you may feel consumed by darkness, there's hope, God has a plan. There is so much Joy available to you. Like Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol" we can learn from our mistakes, we can break the cycle, we can change the future.
God loves you. He has come to break through the darkness. You may be experiencing your darkest night, but the dawn has broken through.
May your Christmas be merry
May you have the courage to break the cycle
May you see the dawn
In His service and yours,