I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.- Isaiah 61:10
Today the boys and I went to our first (and probably only) professional photography session. A new friend of mine, Jean, is a professional photographer in Buckeye, AZ and she and I have done a sort of trade of service/goods with each other: soap for pics.
I've never done anything like this. There was very specific preparations that had to be made so that we had the best chance of looking close-up photo worthy. Twice Jean and I had talked about what to expect during the session and laid out plans about what specifically we would wear (including jewelry). Last week I purchased a white outfit and a black outfit for the boys and I, and laid out specific jewelry I wanted to wear with each outfit. This morning I ironed everything, and we got all dolled up and ready to go and sure enough, didn't manage to get out the door with a fight between the brothers.
After doing my best to not allow WW III to break out we managed to get in the car and start driving to our session. On the way there I was praying, thinking about the tension in the house of late, the ongoing friction between my polar-opposite boys, and my lack of being at home anywhere in a church, and it just hit me, "For many people getting ready for church in the morning is a lot like the mess I just dealt with." And it saddened me. I know women, men and families who always look so put together. Nothing wrong with that. I like put together. But I bet if I got to know those people well (some of them I do know well), I'd find that they look very put together on the outside but their emotional, relational and personal lives are full of struggles and tensions and conflicts that are anything but neat and pretty.
So what does this have to do with Advent, or Christmas? As I was thinking about how many of us get all dolled up for church and yet struggle with besetting sins, depression, marital conflict and relationship strife with our kids and others, I thought about how Jesus sees us for who we really are and one day will cloth our lives in perfect rightness.
The Light of the world was born to purchase with his life a whole new life for us who believe in him, and to clothe us with his light, his righteousness. He called us Sons of Light to be the light of the world while he is not here. But for now his light shines through our broken lives and we long for the day when we won't be fighting sin anymore and will be made whole and right and godly in every way.
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
-by Charles Wesley 1744
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne