A letter to my 11 year old daughter:
It’s been almost a year, and I remember that day so clearly. First, I noticed hints of the news as I read words of shock, disgust, and despair on my Facebook page. What in the world happened? I wondered. Soon I learned that the “in the world” answer to my question happened in a little place called Newtown.
And your school bus would not come soon enough for me. I tried to keep the television turned off, but over the course of the weekend, you knew. You knew that something unspeakably tragic happened in a place just like the place where you spend most of your days.
On Monday morning you cried. With an aching heart I drove you to that place where you spend most of your days. Sweetie, I hurt so deeply for your fear and I wanted so badly to keep you home. I promised you that it would be alright, and you asked, “How do you know?”
I didn’t know.
How do things like this happen at Christmas? At anytime, but especially Christmas?
And my heart asks why hospitals and cancer centers and funeral homes have to stay open at Christmas? Seems like December is supposed to be different.
But I drove you to school and encouraged you to leave the comfort of the car. Because I needed both of us to know that we don’t live in fear.
Because Jesus left the comfort of heaven.
The story of Christmas has a message that you and I have to remember every time we step out of comfort and into this world.
“Don’t be afraid.” (Luke 1:12; 1:30; 2:10) It was a message for Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds. And it is a message for us:
“He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High … His kingdom will never end” (Luke 2:32 – 33).
According to the world’s terms I can’t promise you that everything will be alright but because we trust Jesus we have the promise that eternally it will be so.
We hear a lot about the Reverend Billy Graham these days, don’t we? You know, he’s very frail now, like Poppy was in his last days with us. For all the many messages that Billy Graham has spoken and written to millions of people around the world, I think the reason for his hope could be summed up in one of his quotes:
“I have read the last page of the Bible, and it’s all going to turn out alright.”
In Revelation 22, the final chapter of the Bible, we see Jesus. In December we usually think about Him as a baby. But more than ever at Christmas I think about Him on the cross. I’m sorry to have to say it, but you’re beginning to understand more fully that there’s a curse that keeps hospitals, cancer centers, and funeral homes busy, even in December.
Jesus came to pay a price. Without the cross there is no reason for Christmas.
Revelation 22:3 says, “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb (that’s Jesus) will be in the city, and his servants (like Poppy) will serve him.”
No more curse. No more fear. Don’t be afraid.
Remember that Monday, when you were so upset, I came to eat lunch with you? And a local police officer came to sit and eat and laugh with us? I promise I didn’t say anything to anybody about your tears earlier that morning. That was just God’s special way of giving you (and me) some comfort.
“Advent” means “coming.” Because of the first Advent, we remember that He came to sit with us. Laugh (and cry) with us. That’s God’s way of giving us comfort.
My heart, while thankful for the first Advent, is especially comforted with an expectation of the second Advent:
“He who testifies to these things (that’s Jesus) says, “Yes I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)
Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.
Sweetheart, it’s all going to turn out alright.