No matter how you’re looking at this world, the days are getting crazier. We’re fractured, contentious, intentionally pitted as “us vs them” rather than “we.”
Tyranny is moving from the history books to the headlines with stunning swiftness.
This isn’t the first time in history that the days seemed to be spiraling out of control more quickly, evil boldly coming out of the shadows to devour and destroy. The Big Book is just one repeated telling of our great God pushing back through His faithful people.
The ebb and flow of the battle between light and dark is the rhythm of history.
Now it just happens to be our turn.
Since that first garden fall, this holy experiment of humanity has been tainted. But if we’re honest, maybe most of us could to keep the brokeness contained, manageable, ignoring the huddled masses bent under the weight of a never ending barrage of darkness.
We could forget that people live less free than we.
We could forget that daily women in our own cities wrestle alone with hopelessness and so, children in the womb lose their lives. Or that the little ones living don’t always get the love and care they deserve.
We could forget that for some, the weight of government, elites, and institutions is soul crushing.
We could forget that worldwide, our brothers and sisters of the Cross are losing their jobs, their families and even their lives out of love for Christ.
But that has all changed, hasn’t it?
We feel it from that first crack of dawn until each day’s end: the odds are long, the stakes high. Not just for you but for this whole fractured world.
I wonder if Mary felt that way as Joseph led the donkey plodding down the road to Bethlehem. Did the weight of her responsibility, coupled with exhaustion and birth pangs seem unbearable as they were turned away from Inn after Inn?
Did she and Joseph feel stretched to breaking as they fled towards Egypt and away from the long reach of King Herod, the cries of mourning mothers echoing behind them?
Did the ever increasing crush of Rome on the head of the people of Israel feel like a yoke that would never be thrown?
Where was that promised Messiah?
And then suddenly, maybe, he’s here. A story of angels, a whisper of a miracle, and some of God’s chosen start hoping once again. Until he’s tried as a criminal, beaten beyond recognition, and hung on a cursed tree.
What started on a silent night with the praise of Heaven echoing bright ends in a dark tomb, the would-be Messiah dead.
Or so they thought.
Come Sunday morning, that rag tag group of fishermen, tax collectors, and sinners would be transformed into an ever growing movement of history changers marked by one bold choice:
It caused those early martyrs to stand fast, turned those first tongues of fire into a an unquenchable force carrying the People of the Cross through the centuries despite a World hard on their trail.
You see, Rebellious Hope defies the Gates of Hell, holding firm to the truth that Death has already been defeated and there is no evil that can touch us in the Shadow of the Cross.
Rebellious Hope defies the reality of what your eyes can see, choosing instead to believe in what will be, no matter what we are told.
It refuses to be limited, crushed down, or contained.
Rebellious Hope looks beyond the impossibility of a situation and towards the One who has promised to make all things new, the One who helps us walk across the waves in a raging storm.
You, me, and every one of us carrying the light of Christ into the darkness around us get to choose this Rebellious Hope.
It is what marks us in a world that constantly tells us to give up, to go along, to stop believing.
We hold to the Hope of the Resurrection because death is no longer final and evil does not win. Though we may die without seeing victory this side of heaven, we stubbornly refuse to give up and go the way of the beat down and defeated.
Whatever you are walking through this Christmas season, whatever mountain or valley you face, whatever seemingly impossible fight,
You have a choice.
You can lay down and give up, stay frustrated, and change nothing.
You can choose Rebellious Hope, joining the witness of millions through history who daily fixed their eyes on the Joyset before them. You can live in fear or, bravely take the next step forward into an uncertain future because the One who holds it can be trusted.
This season and new year, let us together be a people who remember that the God we serve is El-Roi, the God who sees us and Emmanuel, the God who chose to come and live among us. He is El-Olam, the everlasting God. Though nations fall and the days may seem bleak, He is unchanging.
That is Good News. And cause for hope.