Fall on Your Knees, O Hear the Angel Voices

I love my children and grandchildren with a white-hot searing love that could incinerate the sun if anyone tried to harm them.

To say I’m protective of them is to say that Meryl Streep is well-known, that Thor can manage a hammer, or that Whitney Houston could carry a tune. As mild-mannered as Clark Kent when my children are fine, I’m like Superman on steroids when they’re threatened on any level.

I do believe in the benefits of struggle, of hard work, and of weathering the natural hard times that come along in life. I’m not overprotective in that bubble-wrap my kiddos sort of fashion. Ask them. When they would complain that something, they faced was unfair, I’d reply, “Good. Life is unfair and it’s my job to prepare you for it.”

But if I could, I would take all of life’s little cruelties, all the senseless pain, all the meanness and torment that might come in their direction on myself. I want for them a world before Adam and Eve chose to bite.

As much as I love all of you, if I were to send one of my children or grandchildren into harm’s way to protect you, there would have to be a) a truly compelling reason and b) a seriously dangerous threat.

Which is all to explain why, at this season of love, peace, and giving, I’m meditating on the reality of God’s wrath, of evil in the world, and of the sacrifice delivered here in the most vulnerable of all packages, a newborn child.

This week, our small-town bid farewell for now to a young man heading off to boot camp. It amazes me the strength of parents who, out of love for freedom and for their fellow human beings, commit their sons and daughters to place themselves in harm’s way on our behalf. Their sense of duty, love of God and country, and their understanding that there is serious evil in the world that must be guarded against is admirable.

How can anyone imagine that God, our Heavenly Father, would send His only Son into a world that would try to destroy Him from His birth without a compelling reason against a seriously dangerous threat?

In the ultimate display of God’s security in His own power and plan, He sent His Son into the world as a newborn baby. That is the most epic version of appearing to bring a knife to a gunfight in the history of the world. And yet, it testifies to the faith God had in His own ability to enter the belly of the beast and emerge without even a hint of smoke on His robes.

God’s immeasurable love for humanity was His compelling reason. He loves us with a white-hot searing never-ending lay-down-my-life-for-you kind of love. It is a love that deserves attention, admiration, and imitation.

And Jesus did what He came to do. He lived a sinless life – fully human, fully God – and then laid down His life, yielding to death on the cross – after being betrayed, abandoned, falsely accused, beaten, mocked, scorned, and publicly rejected by those He came to save.

Many people minimize this sacrifice. As if it was simply a large-scale object lesson for us to be willing to put others before ourselves. They forget that for a loving parent to be willing to sacrifice their child for another there must be, not only a compelling reason, but also a seriously dangerous threat.

The threat comes from within each of us. Our own sin puts us at risk of receiving God’s holy wrath.

You see, those who choose evil in this life, will not have the power to hold all of us ransom for eternity. There will come a time when God’s holy wrath is poured out and those who choose to follow their own doings, who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, will come to face judgement and destruction.

If it weren’t for Jesus, that would be all of us. We would all face certain doom. No matter to what degree our sin has been made manifest, if we choose to be our own saviors, we will fail in our mission.

The good news of great joy for all people the angels announced to the shepherds was that this infant Jesus was born to be the true Savior. He lived here in constant threat, suffered, and died so that any who choose to acknowledge Him as Savior will be protected from the final outpouring of God’s wrath. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:36

The wrath that will put an eternal end to evil. The wrath that will reign justice down from on High. The wrath that will no longer withhold the giant dose of “I just want to get what I deserve.” The coming wrath of our Holy and Righteous Father.

There was a danger Jesus was sent to save us from – and He accomplished His mission – and was raised

from the dead into an everlasting resurrection into which we can follow Him, freely, a gift from our loving Father God.

God is no tyrant, no fool, no abusive Father. He would not send His Son into the path of the enemy without a compelling reason (His love for all humanity) and a truly dangerous threat (that we would cling to our own sin and enter eternity separated from a loving God.)

We don’t live in a village dictated by a Hallmark movie script. We live on a planet engaged in a war for souls and it’s brutal on its best days. Even Christmas.

But Jesus brought true life and light into the world at His birth, through His death, and into His resurrection. It is in the Spirit of Christmas I encourage you to meditate on the coming wrath – all the better understand the true worth of every soul and to rejoice with the angels that the Savior has indeed come.

If there is a tinge of sadness in our hearts at Christmas, it is for those who continue to reject the One who came to save and our knowledge that kingdom has yet to come in many, many hearts.

O Holy Night.

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    The Conversation

  1. Gerhard Papenfus says:

    This is profound! Amen!

  2. Deborah Kreyssig says:

    Amen Lori! Yes, God offers us His beautiful gift of salvation in His Son Jesus. My only sadness in this beautiful season of joy is seeing people, especially loved ones, reject the gift. Praying many will come to saving knowledge of Christ this Christmas.

  3. Ruby Hillier says:

    Blessings on your work. Things that are hard to say and live – still need to be said and done. As we enter the Christmas season there is a mixture of Joy and pain. Another Christmas without the salvation of loved ones – But seeing growth in others and ourselves. So many movies but rarely one about the true meaning and signifance of Christ’s birth. May we keep on loving God and all of humanity-and may we understand that He is to be paramount not just at Christmas but all year long.Love to all who read. Be strong and preach the word-and as someone said sometimes use words.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Love this one Lori!! Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

    Blessings of PEACE IN HIM…….

    Scotty and Mary

  5. Nancy K. Sullivan says:

    Mama bears unite! You write from a view we get and on a very personal level. Bless Mary’s heart. And bless God for sacrificing His only Son simply because His loves us enough.

    Wishing you and yours a blessed and restful Christmas.

  6. Lori Hatcher says:

    As my pastor said often about God’s deep love for us in sending his Son, “I cannot earn it, I don’t deserve it, but I am infinitely grateful.” Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. Merry Christmas!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this powerful description of mama bear love and protection. Many of us can relate to in our lives. Transitioning that to how our Heavenly Father des the same for us was so clearly spoken/written. However, in this world that has a tendency to only focus on the good, the reward, the benefit of God’s love and sacrifice for us to have eternal life. Our culture wants what it what’s without too much responsibility or effort. We have forgotten what sacrifice, commitment, struggle, and earning our keep is necessary for grateful hearts and living. oh how we forget the sorrow and wrath of our Heavenly Father should we ignore Him and not accept His grace and mercy.
    Thank you for your wonderfully written message to remind me, I am loved and cherished by the God of the Universe to have life through Jesus and a relationship with Him because of His amazing love and supreme sacrifice