‘Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail’ (Lamentations 3:22 NIV)
Christmas is coming so I thought I’d write about a passage from Lamentations.
Now why write about a book of lament when Christmas is meant to be about joy?
Lamentations is a series of 5 Poems expressing laments of pain and complaint following the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians in 586 BC.
The city and temple were desecrated and much of the nation was taken off into exile in Babylon. Some people were left in the city in despair and Lamentations is written from the perspective of those left behind.
The lament at the beginning of chapter 3 is written by a man who has seen the destruction of the city and feels utterly hopeless, he feels completely overwhelmed by sorrow and darkness.
And the truth is we all have times of darkness in our life, we all have times when we feel like the lamenter felt, when it seems we are walking in darkness.
But there is hope, for the lamenter and for us!
Even in the midst of his darkness and despair the lamenter is able to affirm God’s love and compassion (v.22), his faithfulness (v.23) and salvation (v.26).
Somehow in the midst of pain, love breaks in, hope breaks in, and he is not consumed.
The lamenter turns his eyes away from the pain and turns them towards God, recalling to his mind the love, the compassion and the faithfulness of the Lord.
Despair is not the final word. Even if your pain, your loss or your sin is great, despair is not the final word.
Isaiah also has a similar message to those in pain.
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ (Isaiah 9:2)
Now we can begin to see the connection between Lamentations and Christmas.
Because Jesus came to earth, despair is not the final word for those of us who live in darkness, in pain, in loss and in sin. Into our despair love has broken in; hope has broken in; a light has dawned.
‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’ (Isaiah 9:6)
Jesus is “Emmanuel …God with us”.
- God with us in our darkness;
- God with us in our pain;
- God with us in our sin;
- God with us to save.
And because love has broken in, our mourning can be turned to dancing.
Father in our despair help to look to your Son, the light in our darkness, the love in our pain, and the salvation in our hopelessness. Thank you that in him your compassions never fail and we are not consumed.
Have a good week looking to Jesus.