Sunday, December 23, 2012

The sea was telling us something.

   A beautiful blue sky watched over us as we followed the windy roads to one of my favourite beaches , Pataua North.  The air was calm and it seemed as good a day as any to go soak up the sun and catch a few waves.  One of the great things about Pataua is that you can enjoy both wild open surf and a tranquil shallow estuary, perfect for younger swimmers and casual beach bums.  
 We landed ourselves under the shade of a quiet little Pohutukawa tree near the estuary.  However, we soon realized that we wanted to enjoy a bit of open sea, thus packed up our gear and made the 5 minute walk around to where we had hoped to see the waves.  That calm little cove, with it's crystal clear water reflecting the cottony clouds above seemed to whisper peace and tranquility, like all was well with the world. 
 But were we in for a treat when we got to the other side and discovered that the sea was telling us something completely different!  Our mouths hung open and eyes got big as we rounded the corner to see the banks of the beach swallowed by walls of water and unruly waves slamming themselves against everything in their path! 
The nervous sea seemed to communicate, " I know something that you don't know. A storm is coming. Cyclone Evan is on his way!"
The water was rough and wild, barely suitable to step into, let alone consider swimming or boogie-boarding. That would have to wait for another day. (That being said, a few experienced surfers ventured far off shore to catch the ride of their lives. They showed off some amazing stunts, but I dare say they were just plain crazy!)

All other signs around the beach that day pointed to peace and safety, but the sea was calling out a warning. This has got me thinking about Christmas.  How, you say?

Before Christ 's first advent (coming) at Christmas, there existed a period of 400 years of perceived silence from God.  During this time between what we know as the Old and New Testaments, there were no prophets, judges, or even angels to bring God’s word and instruction to his people.  It seemed as if God had gone silent, leaving his creation to fend for themselves and find their own way out of their mess.

I dare say that some living in that era thought to themselves, “Well, that must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.  We’ve finally done it. We've sinned one too many times and now have completely cut ourselves off from God.  I guess we’ll just have to accept the fact that there remains no help for us and we must find our own way to be righteous, our own way to appease the Almighty. It’s up to us to makes sense out of this world.”

And then it happened.

After 400 years of darkness and silence, an angel is given a summons to  break the sound barrier. .. the one that had kept the people from hearing from God for so many years.  His message was that NOW was the appointed time for the ultimate Word of God to come to them!  And this time that word would not be in the form of second-hand messages from prophets or judges as in the past.  Now the Word would come straight from God. In fact, the Word would be God himself!
No middle-man required.  No need for a priest to stand between the people and God.  Now this people walking in the darkness of uncertainty about the future would not just receive a word from God; they would be the recipients of THE Word of God!  God himself would make this journey to earth.  Any other way simply would not suffice.  He had to do it himself. 
God himself would be the way out of the mess.
 In fact, God in Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Basically Jesus is saying that this earth is where the mess is at.  The Father is where the mess is not.  You need a way to get out of the mess so that you’re not  trapped in it for eternity. .. and I am the way out!”
The message of HOPE had broken the silence in the form of the cry of the Son of God.
It’s almost as if that 400 year period of waiting to hear from God was like the calm before a great storm. Let me explain.  I come from Kansas in the USA where tornadoes and severe weather are par for the course every spring.  Often right before an approaching storm there exists an eerie calm when everything goes still, as if the earth is holding its breath, just waiting to let it blow. 
 And then it happens.
 The storm makes a grand entrance . .  and you had better be prepared to ride it out!  That the period of waiting for the Messiah to be born was like the calm before a great storm.
 It is the storm of God’s love that would bring the collision of a beautiful baby’s cry with a terrible cross, resulting in the salvation of all who would dare enter into the eye of that tempest and there find perfect peace.  It’s a storm where the Light of the World, who is Jesus Christ, in his loving fury swallows up the dark, sin-filled humanity like a tornado that overcomes any and everything in its path.
You might be a bit unsettled at the thought of comparing God to something as destructive as a tornado or tropical storm.  ‘"That’s a bit negative", you might think.  It's not what we normally think of at Christmas when we turn our attention to the humble baby Jesus, God incarnate in vulnerable and broken human flesh.  

 But consider this, God is ferocious about destroying sin!

He is relentless about annihilating evil, because evil and sin bring ruin to you and me, whom God loves so much!  As 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” So the next time that the roar of the waves you hear is a bit more intense than usual, remember what the sea told us that day, "A storm is coming."

The storm of God's love.

No comments:

Post a Comment