Dust. There’s always dust. There always seems to be grayish blanket collecting upon my things, though I faithfully wipe down bookshelves and picture frames. It accuses me of distraction and reminds me of the passing of time. Perhaps too many days pass without my notice.
It’s December now. Gone are the images of pumpkins and leaves and harvest. Long gone are picnics and watermelon and popsicles. All eyes are turned to Christmas. Fir trees fill living room windows. Lights rim rooftops. Ribbons hang from wreaths. Gingerbread tempts the most resolved dieter. Nativity scenes adorn Churches, front lawns and mantles. Everything points toward December 25th.
Advent seems to dust off some of the filthy corners of my heart. Though I strive to preach the gospel to my own soul each day, I can forget how desperate life is without Jesus as the source. Reading from the Gospels is a bit like dusting off a shelf: it all becomes clearer and much easier to see. I remember my own years of darkness as I remember Israel’s years of desolation as they waited for salvation.
There was no joy: bitterness and rage and anger were my leading emotions. If I wasn’t angry, I was paralyzed by fear. I longed for great things and yet failed to conquer the smallest feats. Selfishness so warped my soul that I was really unable to give or receive love. And pride kept me alone. I don’t doubt that – if left to myself- I could be capable of the most awful things. Darkness. Those years of separation are what come to mind when I hear the word, “hell.”
There He found me. Brought me “out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) Justified me by His blood, saved me from wrath and reconciled me to God. (Romans 5: 9-11) Made me clean, without blemish. (Colossians 1:22) I could go and on and on. Scripture after blessed Scripture comes to mind and testifies to all that He has done. However, rather than become weary with the succession, my soul is stirred to life. The dust can’t settle here.
My theme for 2009 has been “Hope.” I’ve learned to wait in hope, to pray in hope, to practice obedience from hope, to desire obedience from hope and now in this season to praise in hope. To praise from knowing a living hope. Christ’s first coming- His death and resurrection- define who I am. And what I love. And the security of my hope. His promised second coming defines what I hope for… but more on that later.
…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. -Eph. 2:12-17