“Mommy, if it’s Christmas, why is the world so sad?” my four year old son looked up at me imploringly. …
… “Darling,” I said slowly, “the world is sad because they slept through the birth of Jesus thousands of years ago and still don’t know He came. That’s why we’re here. We need to tell them Jesus came so they don’t need to be sad anymore!” I tried to smile at him. He seemed to accept my answer. …
… I walked slowly down our street, taking in the scene on this Christmas Eve. I had a hard time picturing a “silent night” like all our Christmas songs talked about. This night was far from silent. Or peaceful. Another gunshot rang out. Sirens began to go off.
I stopped walking to listen for a moment. The sirens began to get louder. And closer. I backed up off the street and pushed my back against the wall surrounding a neighboring building. Two police cars, sirens and lights blaring, roared past me. Just when I thought that was the worse of the commotion, a loud BOOM echoed through the night.
The noise was loud enough to make my ears throb. Sound was fuzzy for the first few minutes after the noise. The bright light from the bomb illuminated the houses a few blocks away. Fire was already starting to overtake a few houses. I could hear people screaming and children crying. Doors started slamming and people started yelling. As my hearing returned, so did my adrenaline. The bomb was in the opposite direction of our mission compound, so I wasn’t worried about my son. But, I was worried about the people whose houses were on fire! …
… It seemed like peace had been stolen from the world that night. I let my adrenaline fade, but refused to let myself cry. I was frustrated. This was Christmas – a time to celebrate, not a time to kill. These people had stolen the joy of the season. I looked at my watch. 11:53. Almost Christmas Day. How could we celebrate while knowing what had happened?
My thoughts went back to the first Christmas. The world had been in chaos when Jesus had been born, too. People were scared for their lives and waiting for a Messiah that was beginning to seem like a myth. Shortly after His birth, the family of three had had to flee to Egypt to save Jesus’ life. I wondered if Mary ever thought about the mothers in Bethlehem who lost their baby boys when King Herod came after hers? No, the world Jesus was born into wasn’t much better than the world I was living in now.
I sat there, listening to the sounds of this chaotic night, missing my husband, praying for the little girl who couldn’t hear anymore, and wondering what part of this felt like the Christmases I was so used to back “home.”
And right when I thought the world couldn’t seem more bleak, I heard them. The bells of the few Christian churches in the city, ringing out the arrival of Christmas Day – announcing the birth of Christ for all the world to hear. Even though it seemed as if the world was crashing down around me, the bells rang out as a reminder that Christ had already come and already conquered all. I realized then that I may not always see it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. Christ came as a baby, during that one, silent night so long ago, to ensure our future, our eternity, with Him. The hope that the bells rang out echoed across the countryside. They seemed to grow louder with each toll until they covered the sounds of the sirens and the dogs.
I finally let the tears begin to fall. All my worry and fear began to drift away. I remembered that it’s not about me, my wants or even my needs. The world I live in isn’t pretty, but the world He was born into was much, much worse. Yet He gave up heaven to come here to save me.
In that one moment, I knew that God isn’t dead. He’s not sleeping. He’s very much awake and very much aware of what is going on – even today. He is watching and someday soon, He will return. All the bells on earth won’t be loud enough to hail His second coming – the trumpets of heaven will have to do that. Hope was born so long ago so that I may live today without fear. Peace is coming – for the second time in history.
Listen! He’s on His way.
There’s more to it; I took some out to post here. I think it has promise. What do you think?