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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas redemption: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

My red nail polish is chipped. It's broken. So much like me. 
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, it's a plea, a begging, Emmanuel, God with us, I need that. I need Him with me. With us. 

Brokenness is all around me. A graduate of my college was killed by his brother a few days ago. My friends struggle with which parent they going to see first when they go home on break. Families regather for the holidays expecting conflict and tension. The homeless in my city are cold. And wet. And yet it's Christmas.

People rush around the city buying decorations and gifts they can't afford, hoping to please friends and family they may not even genuinely know or love. Because being fully loved requires being fully known. And being fully known is dangerous. And threatening. And vulnerable. 

Where's the beauty in this? 

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

He's coming! He has come! Hallelujah! He cares to come sit in my pain and my brokenness, in the pain and brokenness of the world, of my neighbor, of my city.  

Psalm 147:3-5 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.

He is the Divine Namer. That's who He is. And by naming us, He knows us. Knows us in our most vulnerable place and still says 
I love you. Knows us and all of our wrong and still says I'll die for you. Knows us and all of our pain and says I'll know your pain, too. He doesn't just want our happiness, pasted on smiles, singing Christmas carols and decorating the house. He wants our loneliness, our loneliness in a crowd, our broken hearts, our anger and hatred, our loss. He wants us. 

When Jesus became a little baby in a cold stable (the King of the Universe didn't even get a proper home) and slept on a pile of scratchy hay, and slept surrounded by the smell of cow and sheep manure, He was saying something very loudly. I'm here. With you. And I'm not leaving. I'm here for everything that's broken, to heal it, to walk beside you, to weep with you. Later in his life, when his friend Lazarus died, he wept. He didn't just sweep in on a white horse in shining armor, but He sat down next to Lazarus' sisters and wept.

And He sits down with me. And with you. And He weeps. He wipes away the tears running down my face and still whispers I love you.

So if this Christmas is less than what we see on the Hallmark Christmas channel and you are feeling empty or disappointed, please remember, Christmas is our celebration and our reminding ourselves (because we forget so easily) that Jesus is with us. And that He is whispering I love you

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. God with us.

(The inspiration for this post came from Ann Voskamp's raw post 3 keys that salvage any christmas about redemption at Christmas). 

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