it reminds me, I already have more than I should

“Many people say, ‘who will show us better times?’
Let your face smile upon us, LORD.
You have given me great joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep
for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.”
Psalm 4:6-8

I sometimes feel like the good and challenges of life are like a balancing act.  At any moment the scale can tip in the other direction.  It’s the nature of this broken life we have here on earth.  And sometimes it’s never more evident to me than during this Christmas season.
Last weekend the church where I work voted to call me as a Pastor.  It’s amazing news, an amazing affirmation of who God has created me to be.  I love this congregation, I love our little city and I love doing ministry with our staff.  It’s been a little while in the making and now that it’s finally public and official (after the first of the year), I am rejoicing.
Two days before this great news became official and public, I received devastating news of the death of a former classmate and sister in Christ.  I was finishing an amazing 4 day vacation in NYC with Pastor and upon checking Facebook, I realized something was very very wrong.  I did some research and discovered the terrible truth.
It’s the constant struggle between how good life can be and the possibility of the sting when an earthly life ends.  I’ve found myself going back and forth between the joy of having a call and feeling finally like I know where my life seems to be heading and the deep hurt of mourning the loss of a friend.  As well as the remembrance of losing my father four years ago.
In this season, when there is joy and cheer around us at all times, when we are surrounded by lights and the bustle of the Christmas season, let us not forget that the Christ child that we are celebrating came to rescue us.  Came to reside with us in the joyful times yes, but also in the times of deep despair.
The shepherds, Mary and Joseph, the Magi – they all understood this fact.  They knew the history – Israel had been LONGING for deliverance for years.  They were experiencing deep despair, they knew what it meant to suffer.  And this child – this baby that was to be found wrapped in swaddling cloths, in a manger – was sent from heaven to restore all that had been broken.
That’s what they found in the manger.  But it’s important to remember- they found a baby.  I can only imagine the confusion, there was no plan.  No revelation of how exactly this little baby boy was going to bring about restoration.  But they saw the evidence of God’s hand in that manger and they believed in that hope.  They fell down and worshiped even though they didn’t know how this baby was going to be the answer to their despair.
So I find myself continuing to fall down at His feet, even though I see the pain and sorrow of this world.  I cling on to the hope found in the manger.  And I rely on the glimpses that I get of God’s work in my life and the lives of my loved ones.
And I will pray.  Pray for the peace of the Lord.

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