I feel like this Christmas I'm really praying for our Savior to come as were people 2000 years ago before Christ was born. There is so much hurt and turmoil this year and it's just hitting me today...all in one big slump. And the gray skies and cloudy, foggy, gloomy air don't seem to help much.
Yesterday I watched on the news as CNN and Fox News covered the 2 stories of the shootings in Colorado. One was at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs (which seems to be getting the most coverage, and sadly some reporters can't seem to get over the issue of their former pastor Ted Haggard who was arrested for being with a male prostitute...but this is not the issue at hand, and I'd like to send that in a memo to the reporters), and the other shooting was at a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) center in Arvada, CO. The YWAM thing struck me simply because, while I was in Romania last spring, we were there along with a BDTS team from YWAM Denver. Immediately I thought of them. I remember a few of the staff people from their group who most likely lost some dear friends this weekend and will be needing lots of prayer for grief and healing from that traumatic tragedy. I can't imagine being there and seeing that with my own eyes.
This morning, in a meeting, I found out that a friend, Jessica, has a brain aneurysm and is in the hospital. Jessica is a year younger than me and was one of the sweetest, greatest girls at LCC while we were both students. Jessica gives the best hugs in the world...other than Shawn Hunt. Anyhow, I felt pain for her to imagine her in so much intense pain from headaches and fear of what's going to happen. Unfortunately, her aneurysm isn't operable. The good news, though, is that Jess is doing much better tonight and somehow may be released to go home tomorrow! She will be starting a gamma ray treatment in February that will hopefully reduce the size of the aneurysm over the next 3 years. Please be in prayer for her and her husband Jon.
Not much later, at lunch, Lynn Laughlin informed me that he had just found out that one of our students' fathers had 2 brain aneurysms and was in surgery in Milwaukee. I asked who, and found out that it was one of the girls in my spiritual formation group (SFG) that I lead w/ Lindsey. She hadn't been told yet, so we hurried back to campus to find her and talk to her, and we drove her to meet someone from her church in Joliet so she could be there. It was hard to see her hurting and in fear for her dad, because I've been there several times myself. Please pray for Amanda and her dad.
And on top of all of this, it is constantly on my mind that in just 12 short days will mark one year since my dad passed away from an aneurysm in his intestine. Needless to say, I hate aneurysms. I just don't understand them. And I'm not sure they're meant to be understood.
Either way, it has been a dull day, and in the midst of most of America's joyous Christmas celebrations, I find it hard to believe that all the world is celebrating. I think more people than we realize are hurting and in need of prayer. I don't say that to de-value the celebration. In fact, I think the coming of our Savior should be even more anticipated and celebrated! And in these times, I can't help but to think of how all of Israel must have felt 2000 years ago in the midst of turmoil and without hope...but they had been promised a Savior. They were told He would come. And He did. And He will again.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
O Come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our Spirit's by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadows put to flight.