You know sometimes we walk through valleys that seem interminable. And by interminable, I mean they just don’t seem like they will ever end. Whether it is a season of loneliness, cancer, oppression, or just a teenage boy screaming that you don’t care about him.
But do you know what came before the greatest event in the world? We love the story of the three wise men, the shepherds, the swaddling clothes. We love celebrating the holiday with cranberries and chocolate dipped wonders. But do you know the length of the interminable valley of darkness that ushered in the Prince of Peace?
And, the event that foreshadowed the coming of Jesus was the same. Oh, how we love the great stories of Moses and the burning bush. How we delight in the victory God brought to the people. But do you remember the length of time God’s people were in slavery?
Last night, after a screaming session of perhaps 30 minutes, the teenager said calmly, “Oh, tomorrow I have ‘Shop with a Cop.'” (A local charity the school social worker signed him up with. He gets to buy Christmas presents with a police officer.) He hadn’t gotten his way, but suddenly he was transformed back into a fairly reasonable human being who was thinking of the next day’s events.
A few minutes later, Marnell came to me in the kitchen, where I had been trying to cook spaghetti and hide from the conflict (unsuccessful on both counts, don’t ask). “I really think he just isn’t used to someone sticking with him through the whole yelling session. He hates it that he can’t win. Yet he wants the stability.” A few hours later they were playing a bedtime game of chess amid the background noise of the other brother making very realistic engine revving noises.
May this season of joy and wonder bring new meaning to any valley you might be walking through, even if it hasn’t been 400 years. And remember, God will stick with you if you have to yell for awhile. He won’t let you win, but He won’t go away.
O Come, Great Deliverer!