Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Terrible Nights (Part 2) - A Christmas Sermon

Matthew 2: 14 - 18

So Joseph got up and, taking his child and his mother with him in the middle of the night, set off for Egypt, where he remained until Herod's death. This again is a fulfillment of the Lord's word spoken through the prophet -- Out of Egypt did I call my son.

When Herod saw that he had been fooled by the wise men, he was furiously angry. He issued orders, and killed all the male children of two years and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding district - basing his calculation on his careful questioning of the wise men. Then Jeremiah's prophet was fulfilled:

A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children;
And she would not be comforted, because they are not.

It saddens me to say that what happened on Friday, December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut is almost identical to what happened not long after Jesus was born. There was a man filled with jealousy and a need for control and power. As a King he took it upon himself to annihilate any and all threats to his throne of power. Innocent lives were lost at the hand of King Herod just as innocent lives where lost in Connecticut at the hands of a man who was filled with rage.

This passage from Matthew shows us that evil exits. It will exist until Christ returns. So what do we do? How do we find comfort in the midst of such pain, grief and despair? The day after the massacre I made my first tandem jump. After Friday I was ready for it. All last week the excitement and anticipation was so overwhelming and when Friday came it completely disappeared. I needed Saturday. I needed something to distract me, f only for a moment, from the chaos. Well, as God always does, he met my need in and through that jump.

Before I tell you how allow me to back track. In my first sermon, "Terrible Nights", I talk about how God can deliver us in the same way he delivered Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Today I want to talk about how God can comfort us during our terrible nights.

After the 60 second free fall the parachute opens and I and my jumping partner float for 6 - 7 minutes to the ground. It is actually a lot of time to view the world. Though jumping keeps you in the "real world" you are removed from the reality on the ground. I noticed how the horizon went on for days. I saw the curvature of the earth that we take for granted when our feet are firmly planted on the ground. I saw different types of soil, grass, waterways and ponds. I saw creation in a bigger and fuller way. What I saw was beautiful.  In God's creation there is beauty and through that beauty I was comforted. In the midst of my deep pain and unrelenting darkness God's creation became my comfort.

My prayer for all of you is that God will reveal to the beauty of creation and in that beauty you will find comfort in the midst of great tragedy and darkness. For the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not extinguish the light. - John 1: 5

My prayer: Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

For more Advent and Christmas thoughts visit a fellow blogger here.