I pressed post on my blog last Thursday morning with a breath-prayer that God with us would make strong the hearts of the fragile. Less than 24 hours later, babies at Sandy Hook Elementary died, Jesus wept, a nation mourned, and I read and reread the post: “Believing in miracles before life makes sense…believing in a God bigger than the burdens…This is how the fragile are made strong.” And, once again, I prayed God with us would make strong the hearts of the fragile.
Carolyn Arends tells the story of a jungle missionary couple’s encounter with a larger-than-man-sized snake that had slithered into their home. Seeing the snake, they ran outside, terrified and screaming for someone to show them what to do. A neighbor with a machete calmly entered their home and beheaded the serpent with one slice. He stepped outside to rejoin the frightened missionary couple and told them the reptile had been killed, but warned them that it would take a while for the snake to realize it was dead! A snake’s neurology and blood flow make it such that it will thrash and slither even after decapitation.
The couple waited outside for several hours while the serpent whipped violently against walls and windows, wreaking havoc and causing much destruction in their home, until the body of the massive reptile finally succumbed to the unyielding truth that he no longer had a head, and had indeed lost the battle.
The couple had this to say about their encounter, “Satan is a lot like that big old snake. He’s already been defeated. He just doesn’t know it yet. In the meantime, he’s going to do some damage. But never forget that he’s a goner.”
This Christmas, mamas and daddys and siblings and grandparents and friends are suffering, and their hearts are forever broken and their eyes know nothing but tears, because the down-thrown serpent still rages. “Healing may not come in fullness until we are face-to-face with our Victor,” Carolyn says, “but come it will. Guaranteed.”
The story of the Victor over the Serpent, the Reason for Christmas, is told from the beginning of the Bible, and seals the Serpent’s real and certain defeat: “He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”
Ann Voskamp writes about Carolyn’s story, and echos the promise of the Word: “Bare-fanged evil may have – did – slither into that classroom in Newtown….But Advent dares proclaim that there’s a way out of this trap – because Christ shockingly stepped right into Satan’s trap – and snapped off his sickening head…
Never doubt it, wondering world: Even if the tail still rampages, the snake’s head is crushed.”
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15.
Merry Christmas, friends. This season, may you feel the sweet Presence of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our Victor, Healer, and Reason. May you unwrap many gifts from the Lord this Christmas, and may your Christmas celebration be thanksgiving-filled and fit for a King!
My Thanksgiving List 12/20/12
637. That the Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow Ps. 34:18
632. Fabulous finds at ARC thrift store
618. Going shopping and watching the change, the smiles, the joy in the hearts of others when they hear a cheerful, Peanut-sized voice say,”HI!”
638. That Jesus came from God’s heaven to a manger, and that this babe has grown to be my sovereign Lord
644. My sweet husband closing the bedroom door and playing quietly with Peanut to let me sleep in after a late night
625. Knowing that God guided a project I was doing to reflect His glory and grace
633. A sweet friend to watch Shelby while my Date took me to a Christmas party
639. The simple, still, small voice heard in Christmas music
634. The pure, simple, amazing joy and blessing of watching our daughter advance to the next stage of life
640. That He came for me!
Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?