Sometimes the reminder of why we celebrate Christmas looks like nothing expected. In fact, it may feel like the sting of sin in the midst of dazzling decorations. And that’s when we sit in the tension of living in a place that is aching toward reconciliation and restoration. Weary souls are still seeking their soul’s worth.
Two years ago, my sister and I embarked on our annual trip to downtown Chicago. We quickly sensed the surreal season offered in light of 2020. Sparse streets. Closed restaurants. And of course masks. The paradox of the city’s landscape this time of year always stands out to me. Humanity in all it’s broken manifestations, appear scattered about. Some hidden better than others. All seeking the “thrill of hope.”
So while taking it all in, I was blindsided by a tresspass of another. My wallet was stolen. It’s the first time it has happened. And the implications of violation and vulnerability hit hard. A huge sum of charges to my credit card means a lot of inconvenience to fix it. Especially right before Christmas. Having to replace my Driver’s License is frustrating. It is not how I imagined my 2020 to conclude.
But I am reminded of the irony of the timing.
“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
He still appears. In the way we respond to our circumstances. Through recognizing that we can be angry at the ways we violate one another while realizing that he came for the worth of all of us.
“Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.”
Jesus came to liberate us from earthly strongholds. Whatever they may be. Revenge, Dehumanization, injustice, empire worship. Strongholds that fracture our relationships to one another. So today, I sit in that tension between the sting of sin and the gift of hope. But I can do it because of a kingdom ushered in on that Holy Night. Both for my offender and me. And for that I am thankful.
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