Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

O Come, O Come – Part I

A guest post by Debbie Kim

Lectionary Texts: Isaiah 7:10-16; Matthew 1:18-25

I don’t know about you, but it’s been quite the year. Lately it seems like we have to say that every year, though, because life just won’t let up. If it’s not the economy, it’s family. If it’s not family, then it’s school, if it’s not school, it’s work, it’s your neighbors, and then you find out that your dog just died and your company is downsizing, all in the same day. There is a Haitian proverb that says, “Behind the mountains are more mountains,” and it really couldn’t be truer.

The other day I was thinking that I was so glad this year is almost over, but really, this thing called a “new year” is just a coping mechanism for the optimistic. For us pessimists, we know what’s up—there is no new year. It’s just more of the old year, repackaged in 12 new boxes. You optimists can send away the old year and roll out the welcome mat for 2011, but to me, 2011 looks suspiciously like 2010, which still has pieces of 2009 clinging to it. It’s just one continual mess.

Yet even for pessimists, there needs to be some idea that there is an end or something to look forward to, otherwise you end up like a wet rag, and people make up names for you like Debbie Downer. Even for pessimists, there needs to be a fragment, a seed of hope that what we want in our heart of hearts is just around the corner. We think, if we could just get through A, B or C, or maybe through F, things will be okay. If we can just get through this or work through that, it will somehow produce what we want. As it turns out, life can be just one long series of corners. You turn the corner to find another corner. Behind the mountains are more mountains.

Let’s adjust our expectations up front. Life is hard, and a lot of times it is unfair. It is undeniably harder for some than for others, but generally speaking, it is an arduous existence. Add to one year’s worth of challenges and grievances another year, and then another, and then a decade or two, and we are weighed down.

Is this what we’re made for? One long road of hardship and then a big finale where everything is a party? When we say “eternity” or “eternal life,” this is often what we mean—when we hit the end of this path, eternity will begin, and eternity will be nice. This place sucks, but one day I’ll be in better circumstances, in another place. But somehow, it seems like God wants something different for us. He wants us to be people of deep joy and infinite hope. So what needs to change: our situations? Our attitudes? Tune in for part two tomorrow.

Debbie Kim, a Chicagoan lost in Los Angeles, is a graduate of the University of Missouri. Ignoring her high school English teachers prophecy that she would become a teacher also, she pursued a career in journalism. In 2006, she came to LA to help plant a church and work at a city magazine. Four years later, she has somehow found herself in UCLA’s education program fulfilling that accursed prophecy.  When she’s not at the gym pumping iron or at the beach rescuing baby seals, she works as an indentured servant at Kairos West LA. Debbie appreciates good design, Earl Gray tea, butter and bacon, but not in that order.

4 Responses to O Come, O Come – Part I

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