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Connecting Points

As I sit in my office writing these words, I hear a child crying above me in

our Early Arts School. The sound is less irritating to me and more

symbolic of the cries from within my own heart. We grown-ups cry but

sometimes we do it differently than a young child who screams out in

agony as tears of sadness drop down their cheeks. I don’t know why the

child is crying but I suspect it’s because she didn’t get her way or perhaps,

she just doesn’t feel good. It might be that she misses her mother and or

father. Those of you with children and grandchildren know more about

what makes them cry than I do.


If you listen above the sound of your own life, you’ll hear the cries of

countless people. Tune into the news and hear the cry of the people of

Ukraine mixed with the cries of the people in Gaza and Israel. It doesn’t

stop there unless you change the channel and soon there’s a symphony of

heartache conducted by the news anchor. Our world is filled with cries of

hurt, suffering, and grief. Right now, I suspect you’re crying too but have it

masked well for those around you. We learn as adults to hide our tears

and agony and find ourselves sometimes suppressing every emotion we

have so we can cope. But when we open the pages of scripture, we

discover the hardcore expressions of lament offered to God in the hope of

deliverance.


My father, who didn’t believe in sparing the rod would sometimes add

insult to injury by telling us children to “dry that up or I’ll give you

something to cry about.” He meant well but that was a call to muffle our

emotions that expressed our pain and suffering. It has been said that we

aren’t really present if we aren’t here emotionally. God, our father never

intended for us to pretend nothing or nobody bothers us. There’s a lot to

be bothered by these days and an appropriate spiritual expression is to cry

out to God. Advent is about waiting but it is also about active waiting and

that means joining our cries with those of the Early Arts’ child who has yet

to find comfort but searches for it with each breath, groan, and travail.


Advent among other things is our hearts crying out to God who comes to

us as Emmanuel, God with us. That God who is with us meets our cries

with one of his own as Mary and Joseph place the Christ Child in the

manger. One carol I love to sing and think of as more a children’s carol is

so sweet and might be considered a lullaby. You know the one I’m

thinking of... “Away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid

down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the

little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.” I love those words. But the next

words, while sweet too, are not really truthful. “The cattle are lowing, the

baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes;” I do think little

Lord Jesus cries, with us and for us and in doing so, validates our

emotions of sadness, loneliness, heartache, separation, fear and even

anger. The next words sing about the one who watches over us all with

these words... “I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay

by my cradle till morning is nigh.” You get the idea of God watching over

the world that cradles us all.


The child above me in the Early Arts School just stopped crying and I can

only believe she found comfort both within and without. May it be so for

us grown-up children too as we sing: “Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee

to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray; bless all the dear

children in thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with thee there."


Happy Advent,

Pastor Dean

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