God makes all things beautiful in their time.
But it doesn’t feel beautiful at the time.
You know that burning feeling in the back of your throat? When you are too angry to think straight? Or when grief is searing you from the inside? Nothing about that is beautiful. Not the feelings of desperation, not the depression, not the dreary expression you wear. Whole chapters of life are not beautiful.
But the redemption is.
In the days of Advent we watched too many weeping family members and seen that grief mobilized into activism and we have seen that activism twisted into violence and more weeping and it seems to be cycling out of control. As my heart is torn between honoring those who serve justice and honoring those who seek justice, I find myself wondering, “What time is it?”
Is it a time to kill or to heal?
Is it time to tear down or to build?
Is it time to throw stones or to gather them?It’s this beautiful fragility of life that is honored in these days of Christmas.
Is it time to embrace or to refrain?
The wisest person in the world knew these things; that this moment in the story won’t last forever. The camera does not freeze frame on the beautiful but it keeps rolling into the ugly and that there is a kind of poignant beauty even in the truly ugly.The fear of an unwed mother.
The hurt of a partner who feels betrayed.
The wisdom of an aunt.
The reconciliation between lovers.
The hopefulness of a homeless couple.
The generosity of a homeowner.
The focus of a laboring woman.
The anxiety of an expectant father.
The amazement of men in a delivery room.
The miracle of life.
The shadow of death across the whole story.
The sacred love of God.
And while my thoughts are captive to those stories of grief that mark the headlines, I am also reminded of the many challenges that make every human life complex.
Maybe you need reassurance that there isn’t a script for how you are supposed to be feeling.
Perhaps you felt like Christmas was supposed to be a time peace, but that is not how it felt to you, for you these days were destructive. Perhaps you walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and yet somehow, feel overwhelmed by gratitude, finding laughter in a time of mourning.
However you find yourself these days, may God remind you that you are in the middle of a beautiful story. May you hold this fragile life tenderly, remembering hope in the bad moments and treasuring the good. May God be close to you in the worst and the wonderful. Amen