Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Difficult Gift

The street light glowed in the dark alley, creating the illusion of warmth in the frozen morning air. I stood there while they loaded the suitcases into the back of the car. Tears that had threatened for the last 24 hours were finally making their escape down my chilled cheeks. It's been fifteen years since we first moved away from family. Fifteen years of goodbyes every Christmas and still my heart aches. It never gets any easier.  I can't help but think of another goodbye, a more heavenly goodbye. It was probably the most difficult goodbye.

A couple of weeks ago the closing song at church spoke of the Creator and His creation rising up to praise Him.  As one of His creation, it stirred my heart with the realization of His gift of life.  With one word He spoke the universe into being. A simple utterance and there was life. Genesis chapter one shows us with the phrase, "Then God said, 'Let there be...'." Unfortunately, a little further into Genesis we find that it was one word that brought death.  Eve said yes. Yes to the fruit. Yes to her curiosity. Yes to her desire. Have you ever wondered why God could create the world by speaking but didn't cure creation of her sin with just one word? God chose the difficult. A difficult solution. A hard goodbye. A sacrifice.

He gave of Himself. God became flesh so that He could be Emmanuel - God with us. He couldn't be that without His act of sacrificial love. He took on our sin and was separated from His Father. He gave the difficult gift so that we could give a simple answer. The same word that first brought death can now bring life.  Yes. Yes, I believe. Yes, I trust. Yes, I give you my heart. When we say yes, Emmanuel is with us in the goodbyes.  He is with us in loss.  He is with us in the hard times. Jesus' difficult gift fills us not with the illusion of warmth but the heat of eternal life.

In truth, this difficult gift was not too hard for Jesus. He is love and therefore cannot deny His character.  He loves you. The choice was simple.

Greater love has no man than this,
That He lay down His life
John 15:13

As hard as goodbyes are, they most usually lead to a future hello. Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father, reunited & restored to His rightful place.  He sits in anticipation of His return, a hello for His bride upon His lips. A hard goodbye became a difficult gift and turned into an eternal hello.

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