Monday, December 17, 2012

Twenty Angels are Dancing

Most everyone has an outlet of some sort, or a certain way in which they process tragedy, difficulties or challenges. It seems, ever since I was old enough to write, mine has been through words. This weekend I couldn't sleep as the horrible news from Friday's classroom shooting in Newtown kept replaying in my mind. In the midst of thought, prayer and numerous unsuccessful attempts to return to sleep; words slowly began to form from what my heart was feeling. It's my hope that healing this tragic wound that's affected the entire country can come as each of us contribute our prayers, love, words and music--pouring them out on the devastated hearts connected with Sandy Hook Elementary school. 

There were seven adults killed along with the children, and then the gunman took his own life, however, the following words are focused alone on the loss of such young lives . . . the twenty little souls that left this earth for Heaven that day. 
angelsTwenty Angels are Dancing     
(a response to a great tragedy)

Halfway through December, two thousand and twelve
From a regular Friday to the darkness of hell
Just a young, troubled boy—for reasons unclear
Stormed into the classrooms and unleashed a fear
Given over to evil and hatred inside
That day taking twenty innocent lives

Twenty angels are dancing in Heaven tonight
Pulled from such darkness, brought into the Light
With each little last breath, the Savior’s strong arms
Carried with pure love away from the harm

Hearts that are breaking on hearing the news
Try waking this nightmare; it cannot be true
Mothers' arms aching in empty embrace
Dads' minds filled with sorrow, long the day to erase
‘Neath trees and menorahs gifts still wrapped, remain
With each family we all grieve, hearts feeling their pain

Twenty angels are dancing in Heaven tonight
Pulled from such darkness, brought into the Light
With each little last breath, the Savior’s strong arms
Carried with pure love away from the harm

Will hope again fill where it had been known?
How will come comfort? By God’s grace alone
Trusting the unseen for each little soul
Lovingly He is restoring them whole
Hand holding hands, no longer in fear
A smile, a wave, and joy for the tears

Twenty angels are dancing in Heaven tonight
Pulled from such darkness, brought into the Light
With each little last breath, the Savior’s strong arms
Carried with pure love away from the harm

. . . Carried with pure love away from the harm.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Difference of Christmas is Everything

"Poverty must be enriched by Him in whom are infinite treasures before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness ere the soul can walk in fellowship with purity." –C.H. Spurgeon 

In this "I'm okay-you're okay" world, where many blasé university religion professors tout the so-called equivalence of all religions—I am very grateful for the difference Christmas makes.

I'm not talking about "fa-la-la" and tinsel, festive lights and trees in the living room—I'm talking about the divergence from similitude that was laid down by one Baby.

God Himself, in the vulnerable, fragile form of a human infant.

Nativity The All-sufficient One, Who created the entire universe—and you and I—laying down His consummate position, exchanging royalty and absolute independence for tenuous flesh and blood; suddenly becoming the epitome of mortal dependence. (Nativity scene: Somerset House Publishing) 

The Apostle Paul described it this way:

"Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." (Phil.2:6-8)

John, in the first chapter of his Gospel, wrote:

"And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us . . ." (John 1:14 -AMP)

Just in case that doesn't yet strike wonder in your heart, really think about this . . .

Mary was created by the very Son she bore.

How's that for a time-space-continuum vortex?!

And just when you start to think the astonishing mystery of Christmas is too unattainable for you to grasp; God has made the message and the purpose of His mission very simple.

Any loving parent and any child can understand it.

. . . To be with His children, and for His children to be with Him.

"There it was—the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person. He came into the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him [did not know Him].

"But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name—Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]" (John 1:9-13)

It's summed up in two names bestowed upon God's Son—one the immediate promise: Immanuel, which means "God with us."

"Look! The virgin will conceive a Child! She will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means 'God is with us.'" (Matt.1:23)

The other name; the one and only key to unlock Heaven's door. It's the mission statement and also a reminder that what we could never do ourselves, God has done for us: Yeshua (Jesus in the Greek), which means "God saves."

". . . you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matt.1:21)
"There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

It's the greatest gift we could ever receive; it can't be earned and it is offered to everyone.

God with us now, and us with God when our mortal life is done.

It is the assurance of constant companionship of the One who has authored our very lives and the world in which we live, and the One who knows our future. The assurance and the peace of knowing that even death cannot tear us apart from Him—He is with us through and on the other side of it.

Nothing in this world; no person, no substance, no prosperity and no religion can offer what a relationship with Jesus does.

Again Paul wrote in Corinthians:

"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich." (2 Cor.8:9) 

It is the absolute difference that Christmas—the birth of Jesus—makes to each one of us who will open that preeminent Gift.