Advent Snowglobes (Day 18)

This is a Norman Rockwell scene. Santa is writing in his book. I don't know what he is recording: is this his naughty/nice list, or is he checking off completed projects from his workshop? His handwriting is worse than mine, so it is impossible to tell. At any rate, sometimes things do not go our way. We end up on the naughty list. We find coal in our stocking. Or we do not receive the gift we most wanted at Christmas. Or things turn much more serious for us: mourning the absence of a loved one at Christmas, a challenging medical diagnosis, loss of a job, uncertainty about the future. Given the rash of violence we see in our country and around the world, we worry about the safety of our loved ones. "God's plan" is a nebulous cliche folk like to offer as a response to whatever bad news we hear. God may, or may not, have every single detail of your life spelled out like Santa's book here. But we know there is an ultimate plan for all of humanity-- even the world-- it's the most important theme of Advent. This prophetic text assigned for today notes the difficulty of the current environment, but focuses on promised hope and renewal: "Now why do you cry out so loudly? Isn't the king in you? Or has your counselor perished, so that pain has seized you like that of a woman in labor? Writhe and scream, Daughter Zion, like a woman in labor! Now you will leave the city and dwell in the open field; you will go to Babylon. There you will be rescued; there the Lord will redeem you from the power of your enemies. Now many nations may gather against you; they say, 'Let her be defiled,' or 'Let our eyes look with desire at Zion.' But they don't know the plans of the Lord; they can't understand the scheme, namely that he will bring them like grain to the threshing floor! Arise and thresh, Daughter Zion, for I will make your horn out of iron; your hooves I will make out of bronze" (Micah 4:9-12). So I invite you to writhe and scream to God whatever is on your heart today. God can handle our honesty! And then hear this promise: You are a beloved daughter/son of God. God will fashion out of iron and bronze whatever you need to endure your current struggles. And God will deliver and rescue you. Rest in that hope and promise.