I love the good truth found in hymns. Don’t get me wrong, this traditional Presbyterian girl can enjoy a good praise song, but the heavy meaning found in hymn lyrics always stirs my heart to think deeper and worship. And, so, during Christmas, I definitely enjoy the carols and Christian songs more than the other catchy holiday pop tunes. Music can subtly slip truth into our hearts and minds while we are mindlessly humming along – so listening to Christmas carols on my daily metro rides not only gets me in “the holiday spirit” – it also reminds me of my Savior and His overwhelming love and faithfulness for His people.
Some of my all time favorite Christmas carol lyrics are:
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
The pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead nor doth (does) He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
I am a fairly black and white thinker – and my heart LOVES justice (both personally and for others). Feeling like I or someone I loved was treated unfairly hurts me deeply. Forgiveness (without apology or recognition) comes hard for me (and is constantly my biggest confession: Lord help me forgive) Maybe it is my personality or my legal background or a little bit of self-righteousness, but the way I long for this broken world to be healed is through a “righting” of wrongs – apologies, healed relationships, acknowledged wrongs, correction or punishment of unfair treatment, seeing those who are "right" succeed, etc.
So, this year, my heart (like many of your hearts, probably) has been heavy. Such brokenness, such wrongs, coming at us from every corner (we can’t blame just liberals or conservatives or Christians or Muslims or blacks or whites for this) Terrorist attacks. Racism. Mass Shootings. Refugees. Purposeful attacks on conservatives. Christians acting hatefully. Muslims acting hatefully. Awful presidential choices. Selective concern for others. A PC agenda. And the list goes on and on…..
So many problems, so much brokenness, so few answers. In this fallen world, justice is not always realized as quickly as we hope – or in exactly in the ways we wish. And, if we are honest, in a world full of sinners, as one area finally sees some justice, a new area of hate and discrimination and loss will emerge. HE will OVERCOME this broken world, but for now, the weight of the brokenness and hurt seems overwhelming.
Usually, Advent is so personal for me – a time of waiting with hope for the Lord, His coming and the ways He personally is faithful to me here on earth. But, this Advent season, more than any other in recent history, I take comfort in God’s coming on a more general level – that He sees every single hurting person in this world and His birth, resurrection, healing and second coming is for all types of people. While it often seems this world progressively gets worse, we serve a God who does not sleep, who is watching and working and can and will overcome in HIS timing.
A baby born in the manger was the beginning of the end for Satan and this broken world. Christmas and Advent are the ultimate picture of hope and grace, but for those like me who long for a world untouched by sin, loss and injustice, the Christmas story is also the ultimate act of justice! We wait patiently for ultimate justice – but God enables us to be a part of restorative and redemptive justice here on earth through our ministry and outreach to others. This Advent season, my focus is on justice – longing for it, praying for it and searching for ways to be a part of it. Maybe the HOPE of the ADVENT season can be seen through His people and how they love others and fight for justice in this BROKEN world.
John 16:23 “….In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have OVERCOME the world."
Psalm 121: 4 "Indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither SLUMBER nor SLEEP."