Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday’s Hope

Well. Here we are at Monday again. It’s a different Monday than we all thought it would be. A more somber Monday. A more reality-checked Monday. A Monday when you will hug your kids tighter, decide to let some of the little things slide, and be just a little bit nicer to someone you don’t know. Perspective is just a bit different this Monday.

Maybe all Mondays should be this way. With the perspective part, I mean. Maybe if our perspective was just a little bit different each Monday, a little bit more outside of ourselves and our own little bubble, that would be a good thing.

Our friends and family have been too close to too much tragedy the past few months. It’s been hard. And though we don’t personally know anyone in Connecticut, we don’t have to know them to mourn with them. Because that could’ve happened anywhere. To anybody. And the names and faces of those 27 people could easily be the names and faces of 27 people that we know.

I don’t know why. I don’t really know if I want to know why. And though there are many, many opinions on how to fix things, there’s really only one answer.

Ed Stetzer had some great insight in a letter he sent to his church this week. Instead of trying to re-hash it, I’ll quote him below.

“Earlier in the gospel, Matthew recorded this:

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled, because they were no more" (Matthew 2:16-18).

Bible scholars think that this small village of Bethlehem had a population of about 1000, which means about 20 infant boys would have been killed by Herod's evil command. Yes, 20 children. Though Jesus was not among the killed, the weeping was real and loud for those who experienced yet another loss. And, we know that God grieved with Rachel who wept for her children.

Yet, outside of the Gospel of Matthew, this massacre gets no mention in the other historical records of the day. You see, such horrors were not uncommon then-- this same Herod killed his own sons. So, twenty deaths were not newsworthy in a world so filled with death, persecution, and injustice. Yet, it was in that very time, in that incredibly unjust society, that Jesus called us to be a people of love, grace, prayer, and forgiveness. He called us to a radically different way.

Yes, murderous evil is not as widespread today in our country, but the evil still happens and it is still here. We saw that this week. The massacre of the innocents at Sandy Hook remind us just how broken this world is.”

That answer? The one answer that is the only thing that can fix all this junk? It’s Jesus. He came as a baby, the most vulnerable thing God could send. And we get to celebrate His birthday next week. It’s a perfect time to remember that Christmas isn’t about a fat man in a red suit. It’s about the birth of a baby who came to save us all.

That doesn’t mean everything is sunshine and roses. But it means that in the midst of all the muck, we’re not alone. And when we’re done with our time on earth, we can spend eternity in a place that will never know sorrow, hate, unforgiveness, and injustice. We have hope.

And when hope drives your perspective, the world is a different place. It doesn’t make it less messy, just more bearable. So remember to share hope with someone today. You may never know how much they need it.

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