The Hope of Humanity Started with a Family

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The Hope of Humanity Started with a Family

Every year, one of my favorite moments of the Christmas season is when I get into my car after leading the Christmas Eve services at my church. After months of planning and work culminating in Christmas Eve, the church clears out and I slip into my car alone. The December air is crisp and cool and the Christmas lights along my way carry a profound weight as I drive in silence. Image may contain: 3 people, people playing musical instruments and indoor I love this moment because everything after this is time with my family. I get to come home and help put my kids to bed, tell them the story of Mary and Joseph traveling into Bethlehem and light the Christ candle. I get to stay up late with Lauren wrapping Christmas presents and watching a Christmas movie in the background. So much of the Christmas season is meant for the public. Whether it’s Christmas parties or school recitals, Advent services or church functions, most of December is shared. But Christmas day brings us home. It settles into the intimacy of a family crammed into their living room in pajamas opening gifts and drinking coffee. It’s fitting that all the chaos of Christmas concludes with the family celebrating together on Christmas morning, because Christmas began the same way. The hope of humanity is a public hope played out on a cosmic stage. It goes beyond nations and tribes, tongues and economics. Since sin has broken and pervaded every aspect of humanity, God’s hope has to be just as sweeping. And it is. But in Bethlehem, some two thousand odd years ago, it didn’t start on a cosmic stage. It started with a family. I think of those moments after Jesus was born, Mary resting after the journey and the labor, Joseph holding Jesus in the swaddling cloth they brought, staring at the closed eyes of a sleeping savior. I don’t know if Mary and Joseph realized the scope of what was happening, but I don’t think it mattered. In some way, God’s hope, for it to truly bring about peace and salvation, had to enter into the quiet and mundane moments of family life. There is something revolutionary in the plainness of God’s entrance into the world. In a world of social influence, theatrical positioning, pomp and power, it’s important to remember that God entered through the living room. God chose the family to bring about his hope. I can already feel myself longing for that moment when I shut my car door and drive towards my house on Christmas Eve. I can feel the exhale of finished work and anticipation of living room rest. I sense the silence of the drive and the glimmer of the lights. Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, christmas tree and indoor I can feel it because God knew we needed the home. I hope that no matter what December looks like for you, it ends with family. That’s where it all began.

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