I just talked to a dear friend today who has some sobering news. I want so badly for it to turn out well and end in joy, not sorrow. There seems to be so much sorrow and brokenness in so many places. The older I get, the more I realize that this world is broken. And the more brokenness I see, the more I must learn to rest in the quiet hope of Advent. While I want all of the problems fixed now, I must sit with the voice that says "Just wait. One day all will be made right. Just wait. One day all the sick will be healed, the dead will rise, the tears will be wiped away. Just wait. One day, the darkness will flee in the Presence of the Light. He will come..."
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4, ESV)
Sometimes in my busy, self-focused life I lose sight of this amazing truth..the dwelling place of God is with man. He came to live among us. He will come back and set things right. God with us. Emmanuel. And so, for my friend, and for all of you, I offer the words of this very ancient Advent hymn. It's language may be a bit difficult to take, but it offers such a hopeful picture of a powerful God who willingly comes to live with us, to feed us, and, eventually, to vanquish the darkness. Let us keep hoping.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!