hope is not hope at all without something to hope against
the dark skies hover overhead while flashlights illumine words we are intending to sing.
no more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found….
“mom, you must be really cold.” my youngest wonders aloud as he’s trying to interpret my shaking and cracking voice. we’re standing before a shepherd and his wife, the depths of suffering against which Hope is springing forth in the chorus of their beloved sheep who’ve come to sing to them in the night.
Lord, i have beheld Your glory
life trudges along as it does. bickering and bantering abound and push-ups on the side of the road* and spilled boxes of cereal and husbands who are far away and finals and sickness and Christmas time is here the radio has said.
i fight hard against it all for hope and Hope fights hard for me.
* (push-ups is one of our standard consequences-and sometimes you just have to pull over and deal with stuff before moving on down the road for everyone’s sake. just keeping it real here.)
we arrive for worship frazzled and late and without coats even tho it’s beginning to snow. but for an hour we breathe in deep the beauty of corporate worship and the power of Words read and songs sung.
Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spears shall pierce him through,
the cross he bore for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
the Babe, the Son of Mary.
Then i saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
and there was no longer any sea.
i saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride beautfully dressed for her husband.
And i heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live among them.
they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
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.
He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
we rejoice together at a successful long division time with those same 4th graders who brought me to tears last week. “I need help getting snacks for Friday’s party….i hate to ask you….” i know she knows this isn’t my thing “it’s ok, i can make some calls.” we laugh together at how neither of us has our Christmas Trees up yet and that there’s one week left till break. It’s monday, but it’s off to a good start for both of us.
i glance over at my 4th grader; “how was your day?” “well…it was good except for one thing. we were all lining up for 2nd recess you know….”
and my mind wanders a bit to what may have happened-some rowdy ones ruined it all and they lost their 2nd recess, or maybe he missed a great catch at kickball……
“….Mrs. — phone was ringing and when we got back she wasn’t there. her brother died all of a sudden of a heart attack. he was her only brother.”
my gasp is loud and i try to keep driving through the blur of tears that are filling my eyes.
“did you know her brother, mom? ” he wonders at my response.
i glance over and notice some interesting spots on the neck of my 4th grader. i look him over and there are interesting spots all over him. the doctor will see him tomorrow afternoon.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life,
as clear as crystal,
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
down the middle of the great street of the city.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life,
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
No longer will there be any curse…….
Joy to the World
The Lord Came
The Lord Comes
The Lord will Come
against the curse
far as the curse is found
no longer will there be any curse
Our King has come
He has overcome
to draw further in: Revelations 21-22 and pretty much any Christmas Carol including their 2nd-4th stanzas