Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I think I say this every year...

...but "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is my favorite Christmas carol. It's my favorite for these lines:
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."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
Even at Christmas, it is easy to despair. Hate is strong and it mocks the song. The world we live in is continually coming unscrewed. As a pastor I have a front-row seat to the destructiveness of sin and see proved each day that "the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy," just like Jesus said. And in such times as these, it's easy to believe that, if there is a God, then He is on leave. For the world cannot exist as it does and there be a God out there who loves us and is strong enough to deliver, can there?

And yet...And yet...there is a Christmas, an annual reminder that we do not believe in a God who remained remote from His creation, who knows nothing of suffering and the hardness of the world. Rather, we embrace Jesus, the God-man, the God who came in the flesh, experienced all the worst the world has to offer, from grinding poverty, to disease, betrayal, torture, injustice, suffering, mockery, and death and yet through all that is bringing redemption to the world. It is not fully redeemed yet, nor will it be until judgment comes, but Christmas is our annual reminder that the world as it is is not how it will be and that we have a God of love and power who has not only experienced life like us, but loves us too much to let the world forever continue as it is. God is not dead and he does sleep. Do you hear the bells this Christmas?

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