Anticipating Advent: The Stark Contrast

It is the starkness of the contrast that carves deep into my very center.

All year long my early morning ritual includes checking the news, so all year long the suffering of others starts my day. Some of those days begin with tears as stories stream into my quiet home from Aleppo; Sudan; the mean streets of places and broken lives of people more familiar to me.

But at Christmas I am also steeped in the trappings of joy. Glitter and brightness and familiar songs and tantalizing smells preceding decadent treats. Red ribbon and picture perfect white snow.

And then the relentless hues of the news obscure my vision.

A shroud of red blood and grey devastation.

It is good and appropriate to fully delight in this special season; we should be thankful rather than guilty for all that we have. But an attitude of gratitude rings hollow without the accompaniment of a heart for restoration. Our lives of plenty and safety should make us more concerned for those without, not less. The frustrations of often not knowing how to respond should not keep us from attempting to.

Advent is a season of looking forward to the celebration of the birth of our King, and it is also a time to yearn and prepare for His return.

Lord, our hearts are weary.

Lord, come quickly.
~Brian Vander Haak