Gloria in Excelsis

David AyresBaustelle BerlinLeave a Comment

I hope you and your family are experiencing something of the joy of Advent, which is desperately needed to break through the heaviness that so often creeps into life at this time of year.

I feel the heaviness in my own spirit, brought on by many different things, I suppose. In Berlin the daylight hours are short and cold and dreary–both a reason and a metaphor for the way I feel.

The images of heart-breaking world events continue to flood my news feeds–pictures that I see daily, but which seem to have a cumulative affect as we approach the end of the year.

In our own small circle, a number of long-time friends and family members of friends have died in recent weeks.

On Sunday I mentioned how we are feeling anxious about the asylum interviews that are beginning to take place for several of the Afghani teens we have come to know and love–interviews, which could very well result in rejection notices and deportation.

In addition, the enemy is quick to steal away my joy through the relationship struggles, hectic schedules and sicknesses that plague everyday life.

I have been reminded several times in recent days just how impossible salvation really is. The evil is too great. The darkness is too deep. The bondage of sin is too strong. But it’s not just evil and darkness and bondage in the world “out there.” They are all right here, in my own heart, in measures that sometimes astound me!

The heaviness is sometimes crushing. The joy of my salvation, missing in action.

. . . which is what makes the miracle of the Incarnation and the joyous song of the Angels above the fields of Bethlehem so long ago a thing to behold again in awe and wonder!

The angels sang with exuberant joy on the night Jesus was born because they were confident that God was at work. They knew the Captain of the heavenly hosts had entered the darkness of the world. The baby born and laid in a manger was the Lord Sabaoth, whom heaven itself could not contain. The idea of such a thing must have astonished them! And even before knowing just how God would accomplish the salvation of those in darkness (We now also have the revelation of the Cross!), the angels sang:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

May the message and joy of that angelic chorus fill and drive away the darkness our own hearts as we remember that God is still at work, still accomplishing the impossible through unlikely means! And may we confidently echo its life-giving light into the crushing darkness of the hearts around us!

Gloria in excelsis!

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