Sunday, December 1, 2013

The dark part of the tree

It's night and the newly decorated Christmas tree is at my feet, in front of the fireplace. Truly, I swear, I resisted the urge to redecorate it. Kaiya, bless her heart, has a tendency to put the ornaments on backwards though and I could only take so much this year. So I fixed them, and forced myself to stop rearranging after a few minutes. 
This morning at church a very intelligent lady talked about hope, and later I heard a video blog about the same thing. It's like the whispered word at the start of this season: hope, hope, hope! But, frankly, I'm having a hard time with hope this year. It hasn't seemed like a season of hope for me but of despair. With people I care about just up and dying and more people I care about getting struck with cancer. Too many, in fact. 
As I stare at the tree my eyes wander to the dead spaces. The dark patches where no lights are draped across, and where no cutesy ornament hangs. I don't consider myself a pessimist, but lately I have been drawn to the dark. Despair seems so inviting amidst so much crap of this life. Plus, there's this little verse about mourning with those who mourn. But. The flip part of that verse is to rejoice with those who rejoice. And this is a season for joy. 
Perhaps others haven't lost as many already or are in danger of losing more so soon, but there is still call for hope. Maybe, even, because of the darkness we are called to hope and shine brighter with such hope even still. So, I draw my eyes back to the lights. I focus on the little pinecone ornament Kaiya made last year at the Christmas tree farm. I smile at the little painted circle ornament that has CJ's name scrawled across the back declaring that one as one of his creations. I smile, look to the lights, and I have hope. 
For there was a tree once that was used for a dark purpose. The whole blasted thing would have been the dark part, as it was cut and shaped into a cross. It certainly wasn't a bright part of the story when Jesus trudged up a hill with that cross, and got even darker when he was nailed to it. The cross that is a bridge though, for the weird part is when he died he really won. It seemed for all the world that everything was lost, and certainly many who had been hoping he was the savior likely felt kicked in the teeth. 
But then, like a brightly erupting star in the darkest part of night, burst forth the next part of the story. For if we truly believe in Christ than surely there is no point in believing just the first part, for the meat of the story is his resurrection. That out of that dark, corrupted tree came a shining hope of resurrection. One day things will be righted. Cancer will be no more. Darkness and death will be banished. A glorious, shining, kingdom will appear for the world to see life as how it was meant to be lived. It will be like a Christmas tree with no dead spaces, no darkness, just all lit up and decorated from stump to tip. It will be hope realized. And it will be glorious and, perhaps, worth waiting for.

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