God is with Us

All is not well. All is broken, ruined, and wears the stain of our whoring. The earth groans, vacant eyes haunt would-be lovers, lead silences mere children—and we, clueless and helpless, fiddle as our city burns. Sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, doomed in the dark to grope about for another apple. Truth and light have run and now taunt us, always beyond our grasp, while half truths wait in shop windows for any who like things wrapped in pretty boxes. 

It is not right. It is not well. How long, oh Lord, how long? 

I scribbled an earlier version of that a little over a year ago, and it feels especially poignant tonight. News of the worst kind has been ringing in our ears since Friday: 20 children murdered. I have no words, only the groan in my chest that echoes the Psalmist’s question: how long?

How long until this darkness recedes? Until the crushing weight of sin is lifted? Until the Just God says, “Enough”?

In the face of such evil, unspeakable evil that open-fires on children, the hope and joy of Christmas seem a mockery. How could such merriment have room in a world like this? How can we celebrate light in the midst of such darkness?

And yet, it was into deep darkness the Light was born. The Christmas story, for all its angels singing and stars of wonder, is incomplete without the harrowing tale of a madman murdering countless baby boys. The slaughter of the innocents is not what I want to see after the coming of the Savior, and I usually just forget about that part. And yet, it is there, stubbornly reminding me that all is not well. Both joy and lament have a place in the story.

Jesus comes, friends, not into a safe and happy world, but into a world of woe. He comes in the middle of deceit and danger, and the suffering of many at the hands of one. And still, still the angels sing the defiant song of peace on earth. Still the song of the faithful echoes back through years of longing: Hallelujah! The Savior is born!

He has come, into your brokenness and mine. Christmas leaves us no escape from pain or darkness. Yet it offers us hope, for our God is with us. And He will come again, setting everything right.

But not yet. So we wait, and we hope against hope in a Savior who sees and knows the weight of our sin. We groan with all of creation, longing for the day when all is new. But in that space of longing, in the face of darkness, we dare to rejoice—for the light has come, and we are not alone.


  1. Elisabeth Key - December 18, 2012 @ 10:29 am

    This is beautifully worded in such a difficult and horrific situation. I feel like I have spent the whole week unable to get back to “normal” life in the midst of such horrific tragedy. Thank you for helping me process it…as I feel like I’m stuck trying to make sense of something that is truly senseless.

  2. Kelcie - December 31, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

    Erin. After I read the first paragraph, I waited eagerly for you tell me what famous author wrote that, so I could find it and read it for myself…well, it was you. What poignancy. Thanks for this.

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