Wednesday, December 26, 2012
My two-year-old daughter came out of her bedroom on Sunday morning wearing a scowl on her face.
"Kyle say me sick," she said indignantly. She was positively grumpy at the suggestion that she was not in glowing, perfect health. What on earth would make anyone believe she was ill?
Never mind that she'd been up the night before with a fever. Never mind that she was coughing, sniffling, that her eyes were watery. Never mind the red smudges under those big brown eyes. She was a mess.
When we told her she couldn't go to church that day, she cried. My girl loves going to church, seeing her friends, attending her "big girl class." She's always excited to hear it's a church day.
I'm hoping it isn't mostly about the clothes.
All morning long, she insisted she was fine. Anyone with a pair of eyes could have known, just to look at her, that she was under the weather. But no, she didn't need to nap. She didn't want a drink. She wouldn't stay on the couch and rest. She was just fine, thank you very much.
By the time lunch was over, her fatigue was undeniable; she could hardly hold her head up, she was so weary. Even so, we had to absolutely insist that she lay down in her bed for a while. And such insistence was met with another flood of tears. She just couldn't believe it - or maybe she just couldn't admit it.
She had a need. But even in her neediness, she refused to accept the truth.
She was fine. Just fine.
Friends, I believe this is a picture of how we ourselves can be.
We too have a need. We are desperate, failing, completely unable to do it alone. We don't want to accept our weakness - our inability - our need. Eyes watering, choking back our coughs, nearly unable to lift our heads in weariness, we insist that we are fine. Just fine. We don't need help.
We don't need a Savior.
But we are so wrong.
We have sinned - each and every one of us. No exceptions. We all come stained with sin, sullied and stinking with the stuff we've chosen to do, say, and think. We so desperately need a Redeemer, someone who can lift our burden and wash us clean.
We cannot remove that burden on our own. And we cannot purify ourselves. We are desperate, failing, completely unable to do it alone. We are needy.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes - and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent."
The season of Advent has come and gone. But the advent, the coming of One long-awaited and desperately needed, remains. He has come, and we never again will have to face life alone.
So rejoice, my friends and let us never deny our need. We must remember that this is the meaning of Christmas - and it extends far beyond a few weeks in December.
We needed Him. God sent Him. He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).
Now that's something worth celebrating.