Balsam, Pine, and a Little King

 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." -Zechariah 9:9

Hope shining out of silence. Beauty from the ashes of broken things. Light in the darkest night. A baby born out of the arms of poverty as the King of Kings. This is Christmas.

It's the sweetest reminder that God doesn't leave us in destruction, desolation, or restlessness. He draws near as Emmanuel to bring light and salvation. To redeem a broken people in a broken world. If we see Christmas for the dazzling lights and little packages tucked neatly under trees that smell like winter and happiness, we see many pretty things, but miss the lasting beauty. Even our Christmases can be imperfect, unmet expectations and all. But, the hope of Jesus is the promise to restore everything to beauty by bringing new life. It's the story of the cross, too. Salvation through sacrifice, and resurrection through death.

When we look at the devastation and tragedy that happens in the world at every moment, it makes our hearts sick, and it's easy to question where the hope is. Where is the restoration and beauty in a place where so much darkness lives. But, God is moving in the stillness, in the abiding, in the delighting.

Because the story doesn't end in disarray or hurt or tragedy. With every night there is a dawn. Every year brings the promise of Christmas morning. I hope you all see the hope of the lil baby Jesus today. He's more than a good story. More than the art on a pretty Christmas card or a nice sentiment.  He's the hope of the world. God with us.