With eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming… Romans 8:22 (TPT)
We’ve had quite the week. Two virus’s have worked their chaos through our entire home, and a close family friend passed away. I want to be honest with you guys: this week I've been either in bed, crying, or mopping up after my kids sickness (and my own… TMI?). So we thought this week, we'd throw back to one our favorite series from 2015. It was a piece I wrote leading up to Christmas, and even though in the devotion it says “2015,” I think it applies even more to 2016.
We would LOVE to hear from you, so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what your favorite series has been, or if there are any topics, ideas, verses, themes you’d like us to write about between now and Christmas.
You guys are the best. We’re so thankful for your support. Much love, Lizzy (and Jesse).
Eager Expectation Series – Part 1
This morning I got out all the Christmas gifts I’ve been collecting over the last month or two for my kids and set them all out on my bed to make sure everything was in order. I love buying my kids presents. And they love receiving them. They’ve been talking about their gifts for weeks, giving me clues on what they want (which is everything they see) and how I should wrap them and what I should write on their cards. They love Christmas. I love Christmas. Not just the gifts, but all of it. Family. Love. Food. Songs. Peace.
But this morning, as I looked at my bed crowded with colourful toys and fun things to give my kids, an itch gnawed at my heart that I couldn’t ignore.
Most years I’m good at ignoring this itch. Switching it off. Pretending that it's not there. I get busy with carols and shopping and work and wrapping and cooking (endless cooking) and tree decorating and fairy light hanging and local Christmas-light-seeking that the itch kind of gets drowned out with all the noise I place myself in.
But not this year…
This year the itch is stronger and I can’t bring myself to turn it off.
As I think back over 2015, I cannot un-think or un-see or un-read or un-hear the things that I have. Our world – from across the oceans, hidden from sight, to right here and now, plain and obvious (somewhat, if we look) in our own backyards – is heaving, groaning, shifting, moaning.
It's been a year of wars, violence, kidnappings, terrorist attacks, plane crashes, natural disasters, government ridiculousness, political conundrums, despots and dictators, riots and protests, wilful ignorance, abandonment, displacement, desperation, religious bravado, budget cutbacks, budget loopholes, environmental setbacks, environmental denial, racism, misogyny… it seems the world is groaning under the weight of our problems and the endless cycles of violence and consumerism.
(I know this is ranty… don’t worry, it gets lighter).
Paul wrote to his friends in Rome: “For against its will the universe itself has had to endure the empty futility resulting from the consequences of human sin. But now, with eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming to God’s children when they are glorified. To this day we are aware of the universal agony and groaning of creation, as if it were in the contractions of labor for childbirth.” (Rom 8:20-22 TPT).
Human sin: the stuff that we do that separates us from God and from one another.
So when I looked at the gifts for my kids on my bed, all I could see were the pictures I’ve seen and the notes I’ve read and the conversations I’ve heard that weigh the world heavy in groans and pains. How can I celebrate Christmas, “the most wonderful time of the year,” when for (arguably) most people in the world, life is anything but wonderful?
And as this tension rages in my spirit about peaceful justice, the eradication of violence, safety for children, homes for refugees and so much more, the only thing that satisfies the itch it brings is what Paul also mentioned in the above scripture: eager expectation. And when I say satisfies, I don’t mean “makes it go away…” I mean, it points me in the right direction.
“With eager expectation, all creation longs for freedom from its slavery to decay and to experience with us the wonderful freedom coming…”
There is still hope. Always hope. A wonderful freedom is coming… And that is something to celebrate – it should cause us to cherish our moments with one another. So don’t worry, I’m not sending the gifts back or doing away with the turkey (or salmon… I haven’t decided yet…)
But how will this freedom come? And what do we do in the meantime?
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