Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Remembering Monday's Devo: Jesus & Aleppo

Anne here. This week's post on Monday reminds us that sometimes the Christmas holiday brings out the stark lacking we have in our ordinary lives when held to the light of the Kingdom of Christ coming to this earth. Sometimes we just need a little help to invite Him into our most unexpected places. We all experience loss, sadness, disappointments, and the "blahs".  Let's remember this post from last year. I believe God gives us imaginations for His holy and divine touch, the place where faith and mystery give us a scope to trust the outcome, that our smaller stories are placed within His bigger story. Mary couldn't have known that night in the stable, amid the smells and darkness, how her uncertain story would fit into the larger story. If you've been feeling stuck in lack or loss, in pain or suffering, or just need a new way to invite faith--reread last year's imaginings of how Christ might have come...if he were born tonight...into our world...

I imagine if Jesus were born tonight, he might just have been born in a place like Aleppo, Syria. In wretched darkness. In a roached out shell of a house. To a frightened young girl waiting for a savior. Into an impossible situation. Where hope in men and government is lost, and the good news of His new government is announced to a mottle crew of homeless sheep herders outside of the bombed out city. Only the appearance of angels would be enough to rock them out of their usual cycle of hopelessness to hope for a lasting peace agreement.

By Judith Mehr for a boy in Aleppo

Night pilots flying their private jets would be stunned by the bright lights over Aleppo as they navigate the airspace. Fearing the city is ablaze from the fire of bombs, their hearts sink further wishing they might have carried the mission that would bring peace. But before they turn back from the city in defeat, they realize the light is not the blaze of total annihilation, but of a great star's light. Curious, they land in stealth mode in the desert planes and sneak through the streets in the cover of darkness until they reach a bombed out house. Bricks and mortar. Rubble and broken boards litter their way as they hear the cries of a baby within. A herd of lost dogs and cats abandoned by owners who've died or left the city in haste are nestled close to the warmth of the doorway. Inside, a young girl and her husband huddle to wrap a baby to sooth the cries that might announce his presence to the prowling evil lurking in the city. How had this beautiful thing happened here, in this city of hopeless darkness?

One pilot takes his helmet and turns it upside down. He takes a shiny metal from his lapel and places it inside, handing it to the next pilot who retrieves a special coin from his pocket to place it inside. The third pilot slides the ring from his right hand, the one he never flies without, but he places it within as they three kneel there. None speaks, for they share only the common language of giving homage despite such peril all around. The awareness of holiness permeates the dark night air that blows through the tattered curtains of the shot out windows. The infant's mother smiles humbly at each of them as she takes the helmet full of their costly gifts before they leave on their way.

As the airmen escape the darkened hovel of the city, the mother looks at the young man beside her to squeeze his hand. The babe before them sleeps as the sound of jet planes scream overhead. Footsteps and hollering fill the street outside, nearing ever closer when a man finds his way inside their threshold to warn them they must flee to the desert for a time....


Luke 2:2
"And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria."

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife,[a] who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold,[b] an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

We read Luke 2 in Sunday School class this morning and all shared our fresh thoughts on the birth of Christ. Then a friend shared how she'd wakened at 6 a.m. relieved that CNN coverage of politics had a reprieve--instead they covered the story of Aleppo. Heartbreaking, she shared. Then she apologized, "sorry to be such a Debby-downer here, but seriously, where are you God?" We were reminded that our greatest enemies here in the western world are complacency and lack of desperation for Jesus to come. We don't know how to pray. We feel hopeless and helpless as shepherds in the fields to make any impact on such governmental political matters and conditions.

But we have been told by this Christ man-child how to pray. 
We have been told he has come to bring great tidings of joy and peace toward all men.
We have been told we are the light of the world.
So, take off your helmets. Place your most precious possessions within and offer them to the King.
Ask Him to bring His will on earth as it is in heaven. Bring His will to our complacency.
Bring His will to make us desperate for Him to incarnate here. Now.
In every darkness. In every broken place. 
Prepare Him room.

If Jesus came tonight, He might just come to Aleppo.
He might just come into your darkness. Your brokenness.

Credit to above painting to Judith Mehr, who writes this of the painting: "Well, here is my obsession I have been involved with for the past two months. I painted this new 60" x 48" painting, entitled "Omran, Angels Are Here," because I saw that picture of the little boy in the ambulance seat who had just been pulled out of the rubble of a bombed building in Aleppo, Syria. I really wanted to comfort that boy so I thought of Angels coming to attend to him. Judith Mehr."

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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