Cold and Broken Hallelujah


Silence crawled across the earth like a dark shadow.  It climbed and slithered into every crack, every hollow on the surface of ocean and dust.  The voice of the One who knew Earth’s frame uttered not a word.  Heavy was the air and thick.  She heaved a sigh, her brittle bones ached with thirst.  Life ebbed yet it did not flow, skeletons drank in dry sand, a spiral unto death itself.

Humanity without hope.  A flame, flickering in the reckless moments before sheer darkness.  Each human shoulder burned with the weight of mourning, until a whisper, in the form of a shivering babe pierced the darkness, an arrow shot into the heart of the dry earth herself.  Her breath caught.  Humanity’s shoulders twitched and stretched, awakening from deep slumber.  Hope rode the currents of the wind, swiftly perhaps more purposefully than ever before, a hope to echo through the ages.  God with us.  Emmanuel.  A hope that uncoiled like a tendril in the midst of the deepest despair.  The ear-straining silence that had spanned hundreds of years broke in an instant with the wail of a newborn.  Lonely exile torn like the veil to come.  God, Himself, entered into humanity's ugly mess to rescue His people and put to death night’s dark shadow.  To speak tenderly and call out,

“Comfort my people.”

And with that, He sends words of balm and peace to His children.  God, Himself, coming to earth to bring good news to the poor, to the ones with a cold, broken hallelujah, to the hopeless ones, the despairing ones, the ones who can barely put pain soaked steps to earth.  He came to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to those bound, to comfort those mourning, even this Christmas.  He came to give those broken ones strength and grace.  He came to snatch away their faint spirits.  And this, this is the beauty of that cold and broken night, the reason that we hold Christmas so near to our hearts and the reason we feel glimmering giddiness sparked deep within our souls when the word Christmas is breathed.  That this babe would utter the words the world had so longed to hear whispered into their ears and curled around their hearts.  He would unroll the scroll and find the place where these prophesies were written, read them aloud and say,

“Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

The elegant, reigning beauty of this cold and broken night is that the One who whispered life into being chose to step into mess, chose to step into awkward and exhausted brokenness, to face cold and rejection for the sake of those whose shoulders were and still are bruised by the weight they are carrying.  And so, this night, find your happiness in the gentle contentment that comes from the whisper gently floating through the snow studded trees from nail scarred hands that left royalty for dirty earth.  Rest your cheek against those hands and sigh with a peace that doesn’t need to demand or perform.  Rest your cheek against those hands and feel the quiet joy, let it overwhelm you because this night, redemption and reconciliation have been born and Emmanuel has come and God is with us.