They. Then. Silence.
The wind slows to a still. The sun filling empty sky burning hot.
Hope is a commodity fleeting, an idea captured weakly in history, stories told of a day gloriously new. And they groan. And they gaze. Lost in a wasteland of mistakes of fathers and kings and proud men always reaching for more they wait for what is wanted: a way out. But they rush to desire gorging hearts filling with empty now.
What is to come, a ghost of tomorrow floating free and away.
Salvation whispered on the lips of crazed prophets and sealed in songs of priests and kings. A plan more expansive than sweat effort, theirs and ours, to swallow more than only they who give half hearts and clinched hands alluding the pious in humble ever after.
Immanuel. With us.
It is of tremendous importance to think of the Bible as an unfolding narrative, not merely a book of history, stories, myth or stand alone promises. When we reduce scripture to segments of favorite verses or easier to be accepted parts, we miss the grandness of the meta-narrative illustrating God’s bold, broad redemptive strokes. That narrative beginning at creation and turning sharply at man’s heart to own itself reaches peak in quiet fulfillment of promise and prophesy.
Wise men came and angels sang, but the ones arrived for had closed eyes and lost hearts much like us often do now.
So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.
So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children's children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day. (2 Kings 17:33, 41)
These were a people wondering to find home, off and on again slaves displaced by their own hearts and self stretched out desires. Infidelity bred and cared for within them ignoring the instruction to worship only One. God alone would give them a home established and be a home for them that dwelt in his shadow (Psalm 91). For reasons no different than are our choosing, money, sex, power, possession, fear, most chose a dwelling apart and away from God’s promise. In doing so, the promise was missed.
A child of God and man sent to change the hearts of fathers realigning the hearts of children and children’s children to return to home.
As we enter into the season of Advent my challenge is to realign myself and the hearts of my children to such a humble invitation lost within the shuffle of our holiday busy and hearts holding to security in temporal strength. And so we talk in terms of coming home by keeping the message of salvation come to us close to our hearts and we sacrifice in little ways to give actual place to grow in our hearts not only in our words.
This year we talked about giving to others so as to participate in Advent; the arrival of hope for those in need. Each of the girls marked off two gifts from their list and found the price of what they crossed off. With that money, gifts were chosen for girls rescued from sex slavery; a care package prepared including basic necessities for these girls to enter life normal and free. A teddy bear was included in the package these girls’ would receive. My girls were sold.
I’ve learned that parenting in small ways leads to big hearts ready for so much more and grounded in home.
We all long for home: to belong, to rest, to be secure and at ease.
This season, determine to return to center, to the reason, to simple salvation in innocent, wonderful child messiah. Savior. Immanuel, with us. Amongst our groaning, wondering, pushing for meaning and validation and importance in life God in the details moving about. We miss him, I often do, in my strain to acquire salvation on my own.
Home does not exist from within me or my effort. It was foretold to a people blinded by effort and right who did not recognize it. Home has arrived as promised in Kingdom come salvation and redemptive belonging changing the heart of this child and my children and theirs one day soon. This gives great cause for celebration continually.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.