I know where your sting is, oh,
death, ’cause there is no balm in Gilead
for the trouble we’ve seen today
Lord, tell us You’re bound for Charleston
tell us You’re marching for mercy
tell us You’re coming for
to carry us
I have a friend who’s an amazing poet who says this Advent has felt much more like Lent.
I don’t know about you, but I feel the same way.
I’ve been overwhelmed this season with the number of friends who are suffering…who have lost friends and family…who are struggling with sickness and despair.
I’m overwhelmed when I see the lonely in hospital rooms…the bruised tormented…the broken crying for relief…the voiceless told to hush.
I struggle because I fear I cannot write about joy without writing about pain. I don’t know if I know how to have one without the other…
…but maybe that’s the point.
What is joy except for the release of despair? What is pain but the reaching for hope? What is loneliness but for the cry for embrace?
What is Christmas but at once the spectacular arrival of a promise and the anguished gift of an only son to a dying world, sent to feel our pain, to hear our loneliness, to drink our despair, to embrace us in the exhale of his last breath?
And so on this Christmas Eve I don’t have answers. I only have a question:
What will you dare call Him?
If you’re happy will you call Him Lord?
If you’re lonely will you call Him Emmanuel?
If you’re desperate, will you call Him Savior?
If you’re a child, will you call Him Friend?
If you’re downcast, will you call Him Hope?
If your life is one battle after another, will you call Him Prince of Peace?
If you’re confused, will you call Him Counselor?
If you’re chained, will you call Him Freedom?
If you’re wandering in darkness, will you call Him Light?
If you’re silent, will you call Him a Song?
If you’re weak, will you call Him Mighty?
If you’ve been broken, will you call Him Justice?
If you’re weak, will you call Him Warrior?
If you’re dying, will you call Him Life?
He is all these things and more, dear friend. My gift to you this Christmas is a prayer…I pray that Jesus Christ meets you in the place in your soul that has no name, no words, no hope. I pray you call on Him, whatever you want to call Him most. He is and can be your Everything.
Listen close, past the bells and choirs.
Look far, past the lights and sparkle.
He is here.
God with us.
Merry Christmas, friends.
“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever…The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel,and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders…For a child is born to us,a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.”
Isaiah 9:1-7 (NLT)