I woke up feeling the ugliness. It slipped out my eyelids as I was doing laundry and felt like a freight train as I read my Advent devotional. It was unnerving yesterday to see people jumping on platforms to make the tragedy in Sandy Hook political. This is a time for weeping and just that. Grief serves as a great reminder that the world is not broken because of systems or structures but because of people. The world is broken because people are not inherently good.
We are broken. We are wayward. We are disasters making disasters.
And so, this morning, when I read these words I remembered why it is important that we understand God's law. When we look at His commands - at the weight and glory and perfection of them - we know what a mended world would look like.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant [this is the purchase of the new covenant], even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
The words “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight” describe what happens when God writes the law on our hearts in the new covenant. And the words “through Jesus Christ” describe Jesus as the Mediator of this glorious work of sovereign grace.
So the meaning of Christmas is not only that God replaces shadows with Reality, but also that he takes the reality and makes it real to his people. He writes it on our hearts. He does not lay his Christmas gift of salvation and transformation down for you to pick up in your own strength. He picks it up and puts in your heart and in your mind, and seals to you that you are a child of God. (Good News of Great Joy Advent Devotional, day 15)
His law is true and pure and beautiful. He writes his ways on our hearts when we put down all our human efforts and pick up His finished work on the cross. Then we will obey His commands because we love Him more than what is broken.
In His power and strength, we will act the miracles He has written on our hearts - from one hard fought step to the next. We cannot legislate the mending of this world because the brokenness is deeper than our pens and papers.
The mending of this world must begin in our hearts - by believing that Christ was broken on our behalf, but that He did not stay broken.