Let me ask you a question at the beginning of this Advent season, How are you with brokenness? Yours? Others? Mankind's in general?
Advent is a gift, one that is best received in quietness. It's a time to open the doors of our hearts to the Light that came into the world, a Light born of love that longs to draw us back to Himself. But as any light will do, it will expose...our hearts...our sins...our failures...our broken dreams...our shattered hopes. Not so that we may be judged, but because He knows, better than we do, how very much we need to be restored.
Advent is all about reconciliation between a Holy God and broken mankind. It was true 2,000 years ago. And it's still true today.
Which brings me back again to the question, How are you with brokenness?
In our throw-away society it is so easy to discard that which is broken. Of course there are physical things that were never meant to last forever...cars for example. But what about the emotionally and spiritually broken physical people in our lives...those that demand something from us? Advent offers us the gift of time...a mere 4 weeks...to allow our hearts and eyes to be opened to not only why He came, but to figure out what the purpose of His coming means for our everyday lives.
Read the following paragraphs slowly, because afterward I'm going to ask you two important questions:
"Reconciliation, a work of mediation and peacemaking, follows a prior work of violence. Something has been shattered, unmade, or undone. God’s good creation had hurled itself headlong into destruction, breaking and fracturing family and kin; creation and creator. Groaning for wholeness, the creation waits for its artisan God to come and look with loving gaze, to apply his creative art to restore what we have broken. Under his careful eye and steady hands, the Father will turn each piece about, carefully held for the remaking. And like the broken ceramic, in God’s work of reconciliation, the traces of the break become a source of beauty and strength. The blood of the Son that binds the creation back together shines brightly in the fissure,
tracing where once there was wound.
And so it is that God’s reconciliation with us is not a gilding, but a remaking.
These breaks that caused us to cry out for wholeness become thin,
head-crown halos from which God’s glory shines." Chad Glazener
Evidently, in order to be reconciled, there must first be a prior work of violence in our lives. Violence is defined as behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. I'm going out on a limb to say it doesn't have to be physical; violence can come through words or attitudes, looks or expressions...anything that hurts, damages, or kills something in someone. Where has violence touched you? Where have you touched others with your acts of violence? Not one of us can escape the truth that we have been hurt and have hurt others. Intentional or unintentional, our acts of un-love must be acknowledged and repented of.
It comes as no surprise to God that His creation is destroyed, broken, and fractured. Isn't that the reason for His coming? A Love that knew we could never find our way Home to Him on our own? A Longing that knew that unless we become like Him we are doomed to hopeless human futility? That very Love and Longing unleashed a baby into the world to not only be our Savior, but our example and enabler so that we could live and and love like Him. He longs, greater than we do, that we be restored to that for which we were created.
Have you ever heard of the Japanese technique of Kintsugi? It's the repair of shattered ceramics with powdered gold. It tells the story of brokenness, wholeness, and beauty. It's a visual of something deemed so valuable that it will not be thrown away, no matter how badly it is broken. And that, dear ones, is exactly what God longs to do for each of us: pick up the pieces of our lives to make them a source of beauty and strength. And then send us out to do the same for others.
We are all broken. We all need to be remade. And I don't know about you, but never once in my life have I been able to successfully restore that which I've broken to a more beautiful state than it was before. Never. My efforts are clumsy and do nothing more than paste the pieces together, pieces that are doomed to fall apart again at some point.
So I'm inviting you...and me...into a time of recognizing our broken, shattered lives for what they are...opportunities to be more beautiful than they are now. I can't do this. You can't do this. The only way it comes about is through repentance and a re-turning to Him...a letting go of the pieces of our lives that only cut and wound us. And then allowing Him to make them into a work of art, a thing of beauty.
More than anything I pray that we can walk through this Advent season with open hands and hearts...that we can receive this season as a gift from a God who knows that we desperately need to be restored...and to be restorers...not only for our sake, but for the sake of the whole world.
Advent is a season lit with Hope. Hope that brokenness is not the end. And that what comes after can be so so much more beautiful.
I wish you all the blessings and hope that Advent offers. Shine on, dear ones!