I had another post scheduled to go up today. It had nothing to do with hope, Christ or the events of Friday in Connecticut. I didn't feel like I had anything else to say that hadn't already been said. Maybe I still don't.
But last night I went to Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God show at the Ryman. The first half of the show is writers-round-style, and each artist (all amazing Nashville artists) played 1-2 songs. The second half is the Behold the Lamb of God series of songs, which tell the story of the birth of Christ.
Throughout the show it was difficult to keep my composure. Nearly all of the songs played in the first half were marked with brokenness. Some were intentionally played in light of Friday's events. Some were not. But they all sang of terrible sorrows--losing children late in pregnancy, having an abusive family, dealing with the death of a child. Andrew Peterson's latest album tells of the hardships of growing up and getting lost in the world--of realizing the world is a dark place and you're not as capable of navigating it on your own as you thought.
Everything is broken, I thought. Everything. This is not how it's supposed to be.
That's true, you know. This isn't how it's supposed to be.
But the beautiful thing was that the light of truth broke through the sorrow and pain in those songs to reveal the glory of God's faithfulness and mercy.
We reject him constantly but he loves us still.
I'm going to stop writing my words now, because I think the words of this poem-turned-song speak far more than I could. It was sung last night with two single voices and spoke such truth in light of recent days. It was written during the Civil War, and it is as poignant today as it ever was:
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on the earth, good-will to men."