But the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings
Malachi 4:1-2 The day of judgment is coming … But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.
Luke 1:53 He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
I couldn’t write yesterday. I felt empty, and at the same time, stuffed way too full. This morning when I woke up, I asked the Lord what to share out of that empty fulness. So here we go.
At our house, the Christmas stockings are small. I didn’t grow up with the tradition of Christmas stockings. Having them at all began when our dear friend Jane Keep knitted small stockings with the names of the five of us for Rachel’s first Christmas, Dave-Debbie-Danny-Karis-Rachel. Several years later, she added Valerie, not quite in the same style as the original five. Since then, God has doubled the number of our Christmas family. Though there are now fourteen stockings, we’ll host twelve around the table on Christmas Day: Karis, though we all feel her presence, does not take up space at the table, nor does our granddog, June.
The stockings hang empty now, awaiting the creativity of family members coming up with tiny treasures and candies to tuck into them. Empty, yet replete with anticipation.
Over the last few weeks, several events I anticipated with one idea in mind, proved to be quite different from what I expected. In each case the production was spectacular, but not what I had imagined. The first was the movie The Most Reluctant Convert, the Untold Story of C. S. Lewis. Then an Andrea Bocelli concert (thank you, Val and Cesar!), followed by our church’s delightful St. Nicholas Market, Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers. I won’t take space to explain why, in each case, the real thing was different from my expectation.
This last weekend (well, Friday through yesterday) held a half dozen unanticipated outcomes, maybe more depending how I count them. Can you imagine Bach’s Toccata and Fugue played on an accordion?! Or the richness of the Lessons and Carols service Sunday? Or the Heinz Concert Hall filled with worship as Byron Stripling and Vanessa Campagna’s voices soared with What Child Is This, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Go Tell It on the Mountain, We Three Kings, Silent Night, O Holy Night and Joy to the World at the Pittsburgh Symphony’s “Holiday Pops” concert? Or the comfort of my daughters’ arms around me through Jim’s funeral? Or—
No, I’ll stop. Too many words, too much music and beauty to absorb. And concurrently the realization, this Advent, that as I imagine Jesus’ first coming, and try to imagine his second, I have only the shadow of an idea what to expect. The reality will be so much more than I can possibly anticipate.
But it will include, as seems a perfect description for Jim right now, healing. Freedom. Leaping for joy.