"Gather ‘round that fire this Advent season. It is warm. It is sparkling with colors of grace. It is healing for a thousand hurts. It is light for dark nights." - Good News of Great Joy, p. 2
These words wrapped up the first reading from the Advent eBook, Good News of Great Joy that Emma and I read during our dream session last night. The reflection redirected the night's agenda and sent me to spinning with delight.
sparkling with colors of grace
What an altogether perfect description of this season. Even without the shimmery snowfall, we anticipate a love that illuminated the sky 2000 years ago. The very heavens shone with the news of a Savior and with that news came the shining splendor of our gracious pardon. I love thinking that grace has many colors - even an inexhaustible amount. So that just when I think I've pushed the limit, God takes my hand and leads me to a new sparkly, colorful display.
And Jesus was born.
healing for a thousand hurts
Oh, goodness the hurts that need healed. It's too much - no one solution could possibly bear the weight of the need. And then Jesus was born; the only man who could possibly bear the weight of the need of humankind.
We are clearly broken and bruised. No one can dispute that fact. With wars waging and empires crumbling; with children starving and parents abandoning; with greed overtaking and apathy ruining - we are hurting and our hurt needs healing.
And Jesus was born.
light for dark nights
Sometimes, a dark night stretches so long it feels like it's swallowed up the morning. The darkness is a blanket like despair that wraps itself around your collar and hugs your sides tight. Darkness tries with all it's might to squeeze out any flicker of hope.
Maybe that's why God painted the stars - to remind us that those darkest, most dreary nights stretching like eternity are not eternity. Those determined pin pricks of blazing fire on the sky's black canvas remind us that we have hope.
Jesus was born and those very stars told of His arrival.
do not fear
Do you know what it feels like to push against fear? To physically march up to fear like you would a military fortress and then push against it as though you believe it will move? Yesterday, during the sermon on generosity, we read Jesus's words recorded in Luke 12,
And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:22-34 ESV)
Fear not, you little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Pushing against that fortress doesn't feel so silly when we are oriented to eternity. We push against the immovable wall knowing God can move it. Though we are hurting sinners - in need of grace and caught in dark nights - we are commanded to not fear.
As God calls us into places swarming with wolves, He reminds us, "I sent my Son. I am always victorious. You have absolutely nothing to fear."
This is the sparkling, healing, light of Christmas: Christ.