Women mourning in Peshawar.
Advent gives hope that mourning will turn in to joy!
Please read Matthew 2: 1-18
Like many of you, my day started today with a heartbreaking news of Taliban terrorists mercilessly shooting innocent little children inside a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. These children were their own people; Pakistanis and Muslims, and they had nothing to do with the Pakistani government or its policies toward Taliban. All day, I could not get this out of my mind as the gory pictures of children’s bodies and the heartrending images of their mourning mothers, fathers, and siblings kept flashing through my mind. I have so many unanswered questions for God…. Why would God let this happen? How depraved sinful human beings are! Once again, I am left without answers.
But then, as I reflected upon it, I was reminded that we are in the Advent season and just a few days before Christmas. I recalled from the Scriptures that, in fact, there was even a greater mourning and weeping after the first Christmas—the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. After learning the birth of baby Jesus in Bethlehem, whom the visiting Magi from the East called the “king of the Jews” (Matthew 2: 2), the then king of Jerusalem, Herod, was so scared that he massacred all male children who were two years old or younger (Matthew 2: 16). Imagine the pain and mourning that ensued in Bethlehem in those terrible days for the people of God. Evangelist Matthew cites Prophet Jeremiah’s painful prophecy in describing the scene soon after the first Christmas:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more” (Matthew 2: 18 NIV).
So, Christmas, which is supposed to bring joy, happiness, laughter, and a good time with our loved ones, could also be very painful and mournful for many. It has been so from the first Christmas on. However, the Advent season retells us that as we wait for the return of Christ and establishing of the Kingdom of God in its fullness, we will be comforted by none other than God himself. God is going to make his incarnation a full reality by dwelling with his people. He is also going to turn our mourning into joy and wipe every tear off from our weeping eyes. Therefore, as the people of hope, who expect the return of Jesus Christ, let’s hope in the midst of our hopeless world that God is going to fulfill His promise. Apostle John provides us that wonderful promise in Revelation 21: 3-4 (ESV):
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Amen! Come Lord Jesus!