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God and Sinners Reconciled

The windowsill over my kitchen sink is a sacred place for me.  It is full of mementos and photos of significant things and people in my life.  Its jam packed with reminders of things and people that I am praying for.  I’ve realized that it’s the best place to keep such reminders because of the vast amount of time I spend standing there.

Tonight, as was washing the dishes, I was singing this little song quietly under my breath:

“Hark the Herald Angel’s Sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on Earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.”

As I got to that last line… I stopped and thought about the words that had just escaped my lips

“God and sinners reconciled.”

I glanced up and saw a little box right in the center of the windowsill.  It was a gift from a dear friend many, many years ago.  On the top, it is engraved with these words, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1)”  This little treasure is deeply sentimental to me, because the gift was given to me during a season of my life where I faced a deeply broken personal relationship with someone very close to me.  I kept that box on my windowsill and daily prayed for reconciliation in that relationship.  I prayed in faith that someday I would see that relationship restored, even though there was nothing in my view that would say it was anywhere near salvageable.

I sang it again.  “God and sinners reconciled.”

It’s quite a breathtaking stanza actually.   One line that sums up not only the entire Christmas message – but the entire message of Christ.

God came to earth to make a way for us to be reconciled to Him.

Reconciliation is one of the most beautiful words in the English language.  And it looks even more beautiful next to its ugly cousin:  estrangement.  What a horrible, horrible thing estrangement is.  To have someone who is significant in your life – someone who means something substantial to you to now absent from your world… that is a truly tragic thing.

Parents estranged from children.  Husbands estranged from wives. Friend estranged from each other.  Sisters… brothers…grandchildren… go from closeness to separation.  And I’m not saying that the reasons for these things aren’t valid.  There are very painful circumstances at the core of estrangement – things that are not easily solved or quickly healed.

But tonight, I’m reminded that one of the things closest to the heart of God is reconciliation.  That although you and I did nothing to deserve it – and He had no assurance that his gesture towards us would be welcomed or received – He sent His son to provide a way for us to be back in relationship with Him.

So, in the spirit of the season… in the spirit of striving to be more like Jesus… is there someone you should seek reconciliation with this Christmas?  Making the gesture towards them… in humility, forgiveness, and love?  Perhaps it is simply to start praying for healing in that relationship.  Perhaps it’s dropping a card in the mail.  Perhaps it’s deeper and more significant than that.

Maybe your efforts will go unreceived… and that’s ok.   Maybe your efforts will be faced with hostility.  That’s ok too.  It’s also ok to note that that relationship with probably NEVER be the same as it was before.  And that’s all right as well.  Battle scars can shape a relationship into something completely different – but equally beautiful.

Reconciliation is not just “burying the hatchet.”  It’s not even just “moving on and letting go.”  It’s much more significant than that.  It’s much more spiritual than that.  It is doing the very thing that Jesus did for us.

As I looked at the box on my windowsill, this Christmas my heart is a little fuller.  I’ve seen steps in the last couple years towards restoration in that relationship. God continues to bind and mend things that seem beyond repair to me.  It is absolutely breathtaking to watch Him work.   I am so unbelievably grateful for this precious gift of grace in my life this year.

So, this Christmas, I pray that you will find great comfort in the God who moved heaven and earth to be reconciled to you.  And may His great act of mercy compel you to offer the same gesture to someone else.  In the TRUE spirit of Christmas.

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