December 12 Saturday Healing
When I was given my assigned word, healing, at first I thought, great. I can write about that. Then, when I thought about healing as related to Advent, our time of preparation and waiting, I thought…well, my first thought was: now what do I do?
Healing is not a word that many of us associate with the traditions of the Christmas season in modern America. Many of us are too busy, we spend too much money and time on non-essential things, we feel anything BUT healed by the time we reach December 26.
Or for many others, this time of year shines an ugly bright spotlight on just how little healing has taken place in our lives: broken, sad hurts rise to the top, mixed with a kind of loneliness and anger that comes when we perceive that those around us have a key to happiness that we just don’t seem to have – those celebrating with large families when we have none, those with seemingly unending abundance when we have no job, those whom we see as living a “charmed life” when we cannot discern our own next logical step or, when we are too depressed and sad to try.
But I would invite you to consider that, the healing energy of Advent is considerable if we but choose to invite it into our lives. And that, even if you are among the people for whom this is the darkest of hours, there is healing available to you in this time of waiting.
Let’s take a look first at the word itself: what do we mean when we use the word healing? Many of the most common definitions relate specifically to our physical bodies: “the natural process by which the body repairs itself; or “tending to cure or restore to health.” But here is another definition that suits our purposes: “to restore a person to spiritual wholeness.” And, it becomes immediately clear, that healing is something that we experience in direct relationship to our feelings of pain and suffering, be they physical or spiritual.
According to the concordance in my newly-updated NIV Bible, the words heal, heals, healed and healing appear around 150 times in the biblical text. That’s more than the words grace and forgiveness (forgive, forgives, forgiving, forgiveness). And, in searching for guidance, I read each and every one of those verses and stories. But the answer wasn’t in those verses, but instead, in Isaiah 40:1-2: Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
And that, my friends, is the healing message of Advent. All during Advent, we wait…we wait in hope and in pain, because we know that healing is coming…Jesus is coming, coming to banish our fears and to help us understand our pain, just as he did so many years ago for the Israelites, who felt abandoned by the God of their fathers, left in a life of oppression and death. We wait, we feel, we have hope, and we are healed.
Rev. 22: 1-5: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever