Lament & proclaim

A phone conversation with a friend reminded me today that some separations are worse than those in my life of late. Imagine being ideologically opposed to your dearest loved one, with hardly a hope for reconciliation and an eternal future of being torn apart. While I was in physical isolation from my family, we shared so much using other forms of communication. The cry of my heart was tempered, the long low, plaintive wail of a lone violin crying out in solo for a moment before being rejoined by the symphony. But those who are eternally destined for a different home than those they love...their soul doesn't cry or weep, but is rent in two, the relentless crescendo of a hurricane beating in on a lonely, evacuated shore of endless sorrow. My grief was a season and theirs a lifetime.

Imagine yourself standing in a boat on the Bering Sea. Your comrade is struggling in the surf, tossed overboard by a rogue wave of ice and sleet. At your feet is rope that has been blackened by the salt water, the ragged fray of the coil in your hand biting into your grip. You don't know where the rope ends, and whether or not it is actually anchored to anything on board. Would you hesitate to throw the lifeline to your friend, unsure whether it will hold his weight, or whether it will be long enough to reach him? Can you imagine his consternation if he were to watch you, contemplating all the unknowns about the rope you hold, while he sinks for the second and third time, struggling against the tide, his heavy gear inexorably pulling him under?

Christ is the rope. Many of my friends and loved ones are the drowning man. When I proclaim Christ to them, I do it completely and wholeheartedly out of love. Because I am on the ship forever, and will be willing, until I die, to toss the rope of salvation to anyone drowning who will reach their hand out to grasp it. During this season, it is foremost on my mind daily. Our culture has sold the idea that Christmas is a season of benign good cheer, and incessantly batters us with images of handshakes, group hugs, smiles, and comfort food...or worse, materialistic shopping, giving and gleeful shrieks over presents...neglecting the undeniable Christian Christmas imagery. Christmas is, after all, about Christ - and while modern Christianity has bought into the idea of inclusion, touting Christian love as mutually exclusive to Christian witness, Christianity is also a divisive and exclusive faith. I hear this in Christ's own words, He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters. (Luke 11:23)

Speak Christ in love to those who listen...and perhaps those who will not...this Christmas. Pray, earnestly, for the salvation of lost souls. Let your heart swell with the hurricane of loss and love felt by those closest to them, let the waves of pain beat the shore as you beg for grace and a beseeching call to be spoken in their own heart this Christmas season.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
~ What Child is This