Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Once again, we are reminded about the meaning of this bleak midwinter we call Advent. For God did not come to create a greeting card industry, nor so we could string lights on houses and trees. God did not become one of us so we might have office parties and give people things they don’t really need. God was not born so songs could be written and sermons preached.
God came for such mornings as this, after the long night of anguished tossing and turning, with visions of horror dancing in our heads. God came to walk with us as we wander the streets of our hearts asking, “how? why? when?”
God came to huddle with terrified children in closets where school supplies are stored, and to give teachers the strength not to show their worst fears. God came to cradle the wounded and the dying, so they would know they were not abandoned in that loneliest of moments.
God came to give the first responders the courage to walk into the unspeakable, willing to put themselves between danger and little children. God came to gather the parents and grandparents up into the divine lap of comfort and hope, even as their arms would no longer be able to embrace their child. God came to have that most compassionate heart broken as many times as ours are, to weep with us even when we have run out of tears, to stand next to us with the same look of horror and disbelief.
God came for mornings such as this, with the same haggard face, with the same questions, with the same anger, with the same sense of loss and hopelessness, but with deep wells of grace from which we can drink, with compassion which will never end, with comforting arms which will not grow weary, with hope which stretches from everlasting to everlasting.
God came, and is still with us.
THOM M. SHUMAN is an author and interim pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati and an associate member of the Iona Community.
© 2012 Thom M. Shuman, used with permission.