Bringer of Hope and Beauty

I visit his website, curious about something or another, and the strumming of the guitar catches me. Before I can find where to pause the music, I am drawn in, drawn in to the pain and the loss and the trust.

And I cry.

I have avoided hearing these songs for this reason. His story touched me so deeply, coming soon after the loss of my own son, and I didn’t want to hear the music born of the pain.

*******

It is not my secret, but it has been shared with me, and I am stunned though not truly surprised. I didn’t want to know this. I don’t want to know this. I don’t know what to do or what to say.

And I cry.

Because this secret will break hearts that were so hopeful. It will change lives and destroy dreams. And although I know my God is great and takes our broken hearts, our changed lives and destroyed dreams, and creates beauty, I still cry for the best that might have been and cannot be now.

*******

She hurts, and her words pour out in anger and fear and sadness. Over and over she prays, till her knees ache from the wearing and her voice gives over to just the weeping. She asks for my supplications to be added to her own, and in the silence of a moment stolen I grieve before the Father for the hurts that have brought her to this point of honesty with me.

And I cry.

I wish nothing more than to reach out a hand and take all her burdens. But all I can do is pray that the one who already did will be near to her– near to the one whom she loves and prays for– always near.

*******

Their eyes stare out of the screen at me, begging for hope and love and a chance. I stare back, imagining my own son there, in that place, hungry and lonely.

And I cry.

How can I fret over the latest and greatest toy for my own children when the curse of sin has stolen childhood from the least of these? I am warm and dry and cared for. How can I not help them?

*******

They have received news that a beloved aunt is ill– is dying– is gone. They strive to reconcile loss with stockings, death with carols, grief with a decorated tree.

And I cry.

Christmas in its beauty has been stolen away and replaced with a graveside service, a cold tombstone. Would that I could replace it for them.

*******

Because I, I try to make Christmas beautiful. Lights twinkle from my tree, soft music fills my home, the smell of cinnamon and hot chocolate wafts from the kitchen. With tinsel and holly and snow, I bedeck the house, pretending that this is what Christmas is. Sometimes fooling myself. And then, my eyes fall upon the little plastic manger, hiding behind a glass of water on the end table.

And I cry.

He did not come to beauty. Christmas isn’t really about beauty. However I try, I will never find enough twinkling lights or mistletoe to make that stable a shrine of what I think Christmas should look like. He did not come to the beautiful.

He came to those in poverty, those on the outside, those steeped in their own ugliness as the animals in the stable steeped in their animal smell. His mother, laboring in the hay away from everything she knew, surely she did not see beauty in that place. Surely she cried out to the God who had promised her she was blessed, begging for a better place for the birth of her firstborn Son. Surely she questioned.

There was no beauty there.

Until that Son was born.

He did not come to the beautiful, because they had beauty already. He came to the simple, and the poor, and the needy, and yes, the ugly, to bring beauty to their lives. He lived a life surrounded by those most wounded by the ugliness of a sinful world, and He died an ugly death, all that we might be made beautiful.

Because when Christ comes into a manger– it suddenly becomes a beautiful symbol of hope.

And when He comes into a life– it is transformed and made beautiful by His grace.

And when we invite Him in– to our griefs, our loss, our pain, our resentment, our fears, our crushed and bleeding hopes– He transforms them.

And I cry.

Because He makes all things beautiful in His time.

And there is always hope.

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6 thoughts on “Bringer of Hope and Beauty

  1. he does… make all things beautiful in his time, and i’m counting the minuets till the earth is filled with his glory, and the “things of earth become strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

    i’ll see you there sweet friend.

  2. you remind me of how much i need that baby in the stable… and how it took His coming to make that lowly stable a place of beauty. yes… there is much to shed tears over… but also much to hope for. thank you for this truth today…

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