December 17, 2012

Heavy Hearts filled with Hope

Believe it or not, the beginning of this post was sitting in my "drafts" section last week before Friday morning.  Then the Connecticut tragedy happened.

I have been noticing more sadness lately.  Whether it's facts about human trafficking, statistics about children going hungry or senseless murder, I feel like the news is everywhere and I cannot escape hearing or reading about it.

The Christmas Season seems to highlight the differences between and imaginary and snow-filled world with perfectly wrapped packages, iced cookies, glistening light and the reality of a world that is messy and filled with sorrow and hurt.  During this season of advent, how does the Christian find balance between idyllic carols that croon, "from now on, our troubles will be out of sight" and Jesus' words in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

God has placed the longing for perfection, light and peace in all of our hearts for a reason--so that we will be drawn to Him. When tragedy strikes, when people are abused, when evil happens, we justly feel anger and sadness.  Jesus was careful to explain to his disciples that they would face heartbreak, persecution and tragedy during their lifetimes and ministry.  However, he also encouraged them with one of my favorite lines in the Bible, "I have overcome the world."

You see friends, we know the ending.  Jesus wins.

During this time of advent, the celebration of Jesus coming to earth as a human, we can revel in the fact that the King of Kings came to feel our pain, share in our suffering and be one of us.  His love was (and is) so vast and all encompassing that he gave his life so that we could attain perfection with Him, forever, in heaven--a place where peace, joy and love will be the hallmarks of our days.  "He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

So how does the Christian reconcile feeling the pain and tragedy that will inevitably come our way with this insatiable longing for perfection?  We look to Jesus.  We eagerly anticipate the future.  We weep with those who hurt.  We pray.  We share the good news and hope that we have found with others because we want them to feel the same peace.  We fight for justice.  We serve those who have less than we do.

And we sleep well at night knowing that Jesus has overcome the world.

"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
John 1:5


  1. Beautifully written, Emily. Thank you for the encouragement and hopeful reminder!

  2. Thats why I love Christmas -- Christ entering our broken world means that we have hope eternally (salvation) and hope for our pain (he was human so he understands our hurts!)

    Beautiful post!

  3. Hallelujah! Thankful for the truth of Christ and for friends who remind me of it so eloquently. This world is very tough but I never feel myself longing for heaven like I do when I am confronted with the suffering all around. It helps me not feel too at home here...


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