Far As the Curse Is Found
As I mentioned on Sunday, we do not like to mix our beginnings and our endings, our celebrations of life and the reality of death. However, death, pain and loss do not go away at Christmas time just because we celebrate Jesus' birth. Instead, during this season, when any sort of loss feels especially cruel, it is important to remind ourselves of the eternal perspective and the true hope that Jesus has brought into the world.
Please read the excerpt below (and then the full post) as Nancy Guthrie expertly blends an acute sense of brokenness with the hope of new life celebrated at Christmas.
My husband and I bought burial plots this week. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound very Christmassy. It’s not the kind of shopping most people are busy with this time of year.
Perhaps it seems a bit grim to be thinking about and even preparing for death during the Christmas season. But it seems to me that Christmas is exactly the right time to think about death. Tim Keller has said that we have to “rub hope into the reality of death.” And is there any time we sing more about hope than at Christmas?
We sing that this world was “in sin and error pining, till he appeared,” and we’re caught up in the wonder that Life itself, in the person of Jesus, entered into this world of sin and death. His coming brought with it the “thrill of hope” that causes this weary world to rejoice. But what is the cause for this joy? What is the essence of this hope? Our hope is that “yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
Our songs at Christmas serve to remind us that this season isn’t merely about looking back at that holy night when Christ was born. Rather, our celebration of his first coming is meant to nurture in us a greater longing for his second coming. In fact, we miss the point of that holy night if it does not awaken in us anticipation for the glorious eternal day to come.
Song of Longing
One of my favorite Christmas carols has always been “Joy to the World!” Since we sing it at Christmas, I always thought of it as a song about the birth of Jesus. But if we think through the words more carefully, we realize that this song can’t be simply about the first coming of Christ.
We sing, “Let earth receive her King!” and we know that when Jesus came the first time, the earth did not receive her King. Instead, the earth crucified her King. The first time Jesus came, the nations did not prove the glories of his righteousness. Instead, human history has proved, over and over, the extent of man’s rebellion against his righteousness.
When we look at the world around us, as well as into the painful parts of our own lives, we know that his blessing does not yet flow far as the curse is found. Instead, we see the impact of the curse in every part of our lives. Sin and sorrow still grow, and all the thorny effects of the curse remain the reality we live in day-to-day and year-by-year....
Finish reading at: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/far-as-the-curse-is-found
Nancy Guthrie is the author of Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story. She and her husband host Respite Retreats for couples who have faced the death of a child. She is also the host of the podcast Help Me Teach the Bible.