O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.
Latin, twelfth century; trans. John Mason Neale
It’s Christmas Eve and I am struggling.
So much hate from both sides over the recent election. I don’t know how to speak peace and love. Everything I think to say would bring more hate from people I love on both sides of the aisle. So I say nothing.
Parents I don’t know are saying goodbye to their very ill daughter. The fight is coming to a close. Failure is imminent. They will remember this Christmas as the last time the celebrated with this little girl, watching her body fail. A past colleague of mine is marking the 4th anniversary of losing that very fight with her son.
Images of dead babies covered in dust appear in my news feed telling me that in Aleppo, this is not a Merry Christmas. If I was born in a different country, I could be dead today, or wishing I was.
Then I look at my own beautiful girl. Every morning this entire week, upon first consciousness, she blurted out, “Is today Christmas?” Her anticipation of a beautiful dress, Christmas Eve service, followed by a late night at a deli and waking up to gifts brings a sparkle to her eye and a warm fuzzy feeling to her heart. She needs that hope. She needs that warm fuzzy feeling. She needs to know that someday everything is going to be okay.
And so today we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
- Did you know that in the North Pacific there are more than 500 species of sea star?
- Did you know that you can get a lorikeet to sit on your head?
- Did you know that some sea jellies glow like a neon light?
- Did you know that the God who imagined these amazing creatures from nothing, who designed the perfect balance of the ocean, gave up His power and came down to this miserable earth. He came as a human baby to show us He knows how tough it is here. His earthly mother and his Heavenly Father suffered the loss of their child. God understands our suffering. He understands our loss.
I do not understand why things happen. I usually tell God His plan is stupid and He should listen to me. He tells me that I should not ignore that constant feeling that things are not the way they are supposed to be. They are not.
And so, today on December 24, I cry out to God to be Emmanuel, to come to us and save us once again. He promises He is on His way.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.