Massacre of the Innocents-Rubens
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A Christmas Lament

   O Come Emmanuel, Day-Spring, come and cheer
   Our spirits by thine Advent here
   Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
   And death’s dark shadows put to flight
 
In the midst of joy to the world and hark the herald angels sing
In the midst of employee seminar/Christmas lunch, taking pictures by the tree, ten minute    break
Shots rip flesh and fourteen families apart

Blood pooling on the floor, water pouring from fire sprinklers, wails of agony
War comes to sleepy San Bernardino, much like it came to Pearl Harbor, seventy-four         years ago today
 
Much like it came to Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago
In the midst of infants nursing, babies cooing
Learning to walk, climb, live this new-every-moment life
 
   Herod the King, in his raging, Charged he hath this day;
   His men of might, in his own sight, All children young, to slay
   Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee, And ever mourn and say;
   For Thy parting, nor say nor sing, Bye, bye, lully, lullay*
 
Rachel weeping for her children
Mary running for her child’s life 
Far from family, doesn’t speak the language, refugees raising their first child 
Alone in Egypt 
 
One moment it is a Christmas gathering, December 7th, O little town of Bethlehem
the next, it is jihadi terror, sunken, smoking December 8th, soldiers thundering back to          Jerusalem, baby-blood on their swords
One moment Mary sings the Magnificat, “my soul magnifies the Lord…”
the next, Joseph doesn’t believe her, decides to divorce her, months of shame, gossip
no room in the inn, born in a barn, God where are you?
The prophecy… Mary, a sword will pierce your heart
She had no idea
 
Like us, Mary celebrates the major theme of Christmas: angels, glad tidings, great joy
Overshadowed, overcoming
Messiah! Deliverance, love triumphant
But real life brings the minor theme–brokenness, loss, violence, sin, death
Evil
Soaked into the very fabric of this fallen world
 
We weep, we mourn, we fly the flags at half-mast
Christmas is lament for all that is lost and broken
Weeping that knows the pain and endures for the night 
But joy comes in the morning
 
   Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
   Hail the Son of Righteousness!
   Light and life to all He brings
   Ris'n with healing in His wings
 
God can fix this.
He weaves the minor theme right into his  miracle story of angels, incarnation, virgin            birth, shepherds and wisemen
He purposely enters the pain to redeem it
He soothes the broken-hearted with his presence and peace
He breaks the power of evil where we invite him in

And he will come for us

Not simply with a fix, no bandaids or baling wire

But with a new beginning–love, justice, beauty, adventure beyond belief

   Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
   Let earth receive her King
   No more let sins and sorrows grow
   Nor thorns infest the ground
   He comes to make His blessings flow
   Far as the curse is found
   He rules the world with truth and grace
   And makes the nations prove
   The glories of His righteousness
   And wonders of His love
 
*painting: Massacre of the Innocents by Rubens
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Lael writes and speaks about faith and culture and how God renews our vision and desire for Him and his Kingdom. She earned a master's degree (MAT) in the history of ideas from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has taught Western culture and apologetics at secular and Christian schools and colleges. Her long-term experience with rheumatoid arthritis and being a pastor’s wife has deepened her desire to minister to the whole person—mind, heart, soul and spirit. Lael has co-hosted a talk radio program, The Things That Matter Most, on secular stations in Houston and Dallas about what we believe and why we believe it with guests as diverse as Dr. Deepak Chopra, atheist Sam Harris and VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. (Programs are archived on the website.) Lael has authored four books, including a March 2011 soft paper edition of A Faith and Culture Devotional (now titled Faith and Culture: A Guide to a Culture Shaped by Faith), Godsight, and Worldproofing Your Kids. Lael’s writing has also been featured in Focus on the Family and World magazines, and she has appeared on many national radio and television programs. Lael and her husband, Jack, now make their home in South Carolina.