“For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
As we turn the calendar away from the serial crises that were 2020, it feels like false optimism to imagine that crossing an imaginary line into 2021 will bring the fresh start that we associate with most new years. Surely there should be an earthquake or a comet signaling the coming of a New Era – or, as the world’s economic gurus have christened it, some “Great Reset.” Christ-followers are spending more time looking up. Each morning some people wake up and joyfully exclaim, “It seems we’re still here!” while others wake and sadly sigh, “It seems we’re still here.” Which one are you?
In 1919 William Butler Yeats wrote a much-celebrated poem titled, “The Second Coming.” It was written in the months immediately following World War I, as well as in the midst of the Spanish Flu pandemic, which hit his family hard: His pregnant wife, Georgie Hyde-Lees, caught the virus and nearly died. The highest death rates of the pandemic were among pregnant women – in some areas they had a 70% death rate. How it captures our contemporary moment!
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
It seems that expectant mothers and their children have always been targets of The Enemy. The destiny of Eve’s offspring was pronounced in the Garden (Gen. 3:15). Mary and the preborn Jesus were plagued by scandal and an arduous journey, to be quickly followed by a flight into exile.
We know that every step taken from the stable to the cross was part of a journey that looked for all world like a Death March – was, in truth, a journey that would end the March of Death for all the world.
As we pray during these first months of the near year, remember that things are not falling apart, they are falling into place. Take heart, Believer! Christ holds the center!
“The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word.”