Monday, December 21, 2015

A Weary World Rejoices



It's been a tough year for our planet. Each successive month offered fresh proof of man's total depravity.

We're happy to be alive, but that doesn't mean it's not hard to live here sometimes. Disappointments are frequent, pain is a constant, and the ongoing grind of evil wearies the soul. Because we are created in the image of a perfect God, our hearts yearn to experience that perfection. We chafe against everything that is wrong, bruised, and broken in our world -- including ourselves. 

Despite its fallen state, however, this world still reflects the God who made it; and though fractured, we can find a measure of comfort here. This is still the world of seascapes and sunsets; of warm friendships and sumptuous dinners; of starlight and firelight and songs.

As damaged as our planet is, it's still a place in which we can experience God's grace, and for that we are deeply thankful.

Imagine, however, being born into this world with not just a conceptual understanding of perfection but with an experiential one as well. Imagine personifying perfection and still having to live here, day in and day out, where everything is twisted. 

I'm talking, of course, about Jesus. The adjustment between heaven and earth must have been jarring. He knew what he was getting into, and yet he still came. He was "playing fair," as Dorothy Sayers puts it.
Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death.... He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.
Despite popular opinion, Jesus did not sacrifice heaven to make the world "a better place." He did not come to make our experience "better" in the common sense: he came to revolutionize us completely--not by fixing what's wrong around us, but by offering a way to fix what's wrong inside us.

Yes, the world is still broken, but because of Christ's work on the cross, we don't have to be. 

Though evil seems on the rise, and though the world's systems may seem hopelessly depraved, the promise of the gospel leaves none of us without hope.

Besides, none of this is final.

We're only midway through the third act of a four-act play, and not until the curtain falls on the last scene will all be resolved. 

The whole of the human drama, when laid out in this way, puts our current situation into perspective. We know why we're here (Act I: Creation), what brought us to this state (Act II: The Fall), why we're not actually as bad off as we could be (Act III: Redemption), and why we can rejoice despite the world's current state of social, moral, physical, and spiritual decay (Act IV: Restoration).

This is the hope in which the weary world rejoices. 

May the God of Peace fill you with joy as you anticipate the final act.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea existed no longer. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:
Look! God's dwelling is with men, 
and He will live with them. 
They will be his people, 
and God himself will be with them and be their God. 
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. 
Death will exist no longer; 
grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, 
because the previous things have passed away.
Then the One seated on the throne said, "Look! I am making everything new." ... and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:3-5, HCSB). 
* * * * *

A warm Merry Christmas to you!

Enjoy these previous Advent meditations:


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