Merry Christmas and Happy Advent we are going to kick off our week talking about death and destruction.
During Advent we can forget that the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes came so he could give his life for us. We can forget the baby we sing nursery rhymes was God. He was God who humbled himself enough to be wrapped in human flesh and die a death he did not need to. His love for us is what lead him to his death. We can cartoonize the manger scene and forget how difficult it must have been for Mary and Joseph to travel the great distance and then have no where to stay.
Where type of death and destruction are you experiencing or have you experienced in your life?
(Remember it is not always physical death. It may be death of a dream, disappointment of a path taken, or any of the other places in life we grieve loss.)
During this week two of the people from ‘the great cloud of witnesses’ experienced death. Enoch however just kept strolling along until he was in the full presence of God. The man did not experience physical death.
Abel on the other hand was murdered by his brotherbrother. brotherbrother.
Noah also saw overwhelming amounts of death and destruction. Noah and the flood is easy for me to cartoonize right alongside the manger scene. Sunday school rooms paint fluffy animals with a rosy cheeked Noah looking more like Santa than an exhausted man who has just built a boat, watched everyone around him die, and the land he knew be forever altered by expansive amounts of water. When Noah walked off the ark, he would have been confronted with death laying all around him. He also would have beheld a rainbow and a promise.
We can’t find Christmas hope in the death of Abel, the destruction Noah saw, or even the man who never experienced physical death and strolled into the presence of God.
We find hope in Jesus.
This great cloud of witnesses, as Hebrews calls these people, points us to Him over and over again through the work he did in their lives.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
If we are gathered around the table this Christmas season and there is an empty chair because of physical death or death of a relationship, we can find hope to run the road Jesus has set before us. We can see the work Jesus did through life and death. We can have hope in the midst of destruction and death.
We can see that Cain and Abel’s relationship deteriorated to the point of murder. Yet Jesus was there and at work.
The whole world saw utter destruction because of the corruption. Yet Jesus was there at work
Jesus came to restore our relationship with Him.
I can assure you this Christmas season and every day of your life or the lives of your loved ones are not destroyed enough that Christ can not redeem and restore it.
This Advent we will look to the founder and perfecter of our faith.
We will see how he worked in the lives of the people before us.
How he founded and perfected their faith and ours.
We will look to the one who went to the cross for us, took on the shame we deserve, yet rose again and now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.
We will look to Jesus.