Advent is a time of waiting…and a time for hope. I’m off to a rough start in the hope department.
Every day we pull down a day from our Advent calendar. Every day I read a short story from the Bible and a very short devotional. It’s very much like the Jesse Tree devotionals for kids. It follows each of the Bible stories about why we need a savior in the first place.
Tonight we read the creation story at dinner. About how it was all perfect in the beginning.
At bedtime, Charlie randomly chose a story out of his Story Bible–the story of God telling the prophet Isaiah about a Savior that would come. About “Operation No More Tears.”
I want to believe these stories so much.
The simplicity of the story in Isaiah for this children’s Bible. They put it in the form of a letter from God to Isaiah that he needed to share with people. It spoke of a baby being born to a girl with no husband. Of a man who would be a king, but not look like a king; in fact he would be very poor. He would fight evil, but he would have no swords or armies…or guns. He would be a Prince of PEACE. He would be the answer to all this awful in the world.
As Christians, we believe that was Jesus.
He came; he lived in poverty; he spread the message of love; he was an early adopter of non-violent protest and civil disobedience. Then he died.
We are told he went to hell for all of us, then came back from the dead to let his posse know he was the real deal. He told them to tell the world about him. Then he went to heaven.
We are told he will come back to fix this mess.
I’m going to be honest here. I am having a hard time believing in the midst of all this shit that keeps happening in our country and in the world. I’m having a really difficult time believing that I can pray, have it be heard, and have it mean anything or have any effect.
I love the message of Advent. I do. And I so badly want to believe that this is how it works: we wait and hold on to hope and then Jesus makes it better.
But you guys? Do you ever have those dreams where you are trying to tell someone something because it’s incredibly important. So you shout, but nothing comes out. Or you try to get to them, but obstacles get in your way or you get lost or your legs won’t move. And it’s not just frustrating, it’s the worst feeling ever. You are on the verge of a full-on panic attack and may even wake up shaking or crying, most definitely sweating.
That is how I feel when I see this crap unfold, and then like a fool, I look on Facebook or the comment sections and see crap like this:
Problem: Here is this thing that people keep using to kill people.
Solution: GIVE EVERYONE THAT THING.
I just feel like we are throwing prayers into the wind. We pray for the victims, shoot we even pray for the shooters, and what happens? More acts of terror.
I feel like a damn hypocrite almost every Sunday. I show up to teach my 2nd and 3rd graders in Children in Worship all the while second-guessing, questioning the very stories and lessons I am trying to impart to them.
A couple weeks ago I told them about Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery. The theme of the lesson was that God turns bad choices into something beautiful. If life is a woven fabric, we humans make stupid choices in threads, but God can take those bad threads and weave them into something utterly wonderful.
But I am having a hard time right now with seeing how more violence is going to turn into something beautiful.
I know, I know…”but Katie, it’s not for you to know!”
Well, right now, my eyes need to see…something. Because the light of my hope is running out of oxygen and growing very dim.