(Be warned, this is kinda long. I think it’s worth your time, though. Maybe 10 minutes.)
Hey there, pals. So I wrote another poem. But I need to explain a bit before you read it to make sure the context is understood. Some of you may know this stuff already, so bear with me.
When mankind sinned against God and lost relationship with Him, God quickly began making promises about how He would restore his people to Himself and make it all okay again. Those promises centered on the idea that He would send a Messiah to save people from their sin. And He talked about this with his people throughout history, reminding them of this Messiah and his promise.
There was a whole series of prophets bringing these messages to the people – some well-known, some not so much. There was one lesser-known prophet named Malachi who spoke of another messenger that would come before the Messiah to prepare the way for him. After Malachi, there was silence. Four hundred years of silence from God. No new prophesies, no reminders of the promise, nothing. Silence. That’s like eight lifetimes for people at that time (I’m just guessing). Think like 650 years for us. That would take us back to the 1360s.
I’m no expert on this time period (or any period of history, for that matter), but I imagine the people getting more than a bit disillusioned as time went on. I imagine the tone of life becoming more and more bitter toward God for his disappearance from the world. I imagine people giving up hope, maybe thinking that the tales from their ancestors about the coming Messiah were either just a silly myth. Or maybe a blatant lie on God’s part. Whatever the thoughts were, there was a sense of resentful hopelessness about life. At least that’s how I imagine it. I wasn’t there, after all.
In this poem, I’m trying to capture the attitude of those people who felt spurned by God. Call it historical embellishment, but this is sorta how I see it. Enjoy, and I pray you’re blessed by this.
This has no title. Maybe suggest one? Anyway, here it goes…
Once upon a time, your people wept and longed to see
The day that all your promises would finally bring relief.
The aching that You placed inside so sweetly haunts our prayers.
“Oh Lord, that you would come to us! What’s broken needs repair!”
Our fractured limbs cannot withstand the weight of broken hearts.
How can a shattered vase collect and mend its scattered parts?
Away from You we’re suffocating. “Hear us, Lord,” we plead!
‘Cause You’re the only one whose touch can make a dead man breathe.
You promised to restore us – give us hope and righteousness –
That there would come a Giver, and your people would be blessed.
You said that he’d be lowly – one like a son of man.
Well I see lots of lowly ones, but not the One you planned!
Lord, where is this Messiah? And where’s your faithfulness?
Since when do You make promises that fail just like the rest?
Your Prophets said You’d save us, swallow death and wipe our tears.
What happened to that promise, Lord? It’s been four hundred years!
No word has come, no sign is seen. Your promises are gone.
Four hundred years of silence? Lord, your people have moved on.
“Just go about your business, friends. There’s nothing here to see.
Our God has gone on holiday – the mighty Absentee.”
“How great his name in all the earth! How marv’lous are his ways!
That He should get our hopes up just to rub it in our face.”
“So thank You, Lord, for empty hope, for promises and lies.
My friends, the Lord has turned away. Just go about your lives.”
[Seriously. Don’t read ahead just yet. Stop and appreciate the forsaken feeling of the people of Israel.]
[Okay, carry on.]
What’s that I hear? What did he say? What did that man just yell?
No, friends, I won’t ignore him, for his words have cast a spell.
“He’s just a crazy homeless guy –” they say, “a loony man.”
But do my ears deceive me? I must know and hear again!
The passers-by ignore him when he belts again his chord.
I heard him right the first time: “Prepare the way o’ the Lord.”
Oh, friends! Didn’t you hear him?! Did this news just miss your ears?
The Savior we have waited for – we’ve waited all these years!
Oh, Lord, is it the day of hope? The one that was foretold?
Are we about to see the Kingdom missed by those of old?
What Abraham was promised and what Moses longed to see.
What David sang his songs about – friends, could this really be?
All our lives, and those before, since Adam fell away
We’ve waited for the Savior. Tell me, sir. Is this the day?
The vagrant’s smile told me that it’s better than I know.
He stooped down low and pointed high, then answered me like so:
“This is the coming of the King whose reign will never end:
The Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Refuge, and a Friend.
Many scoff and doubt his word, but, child, I insist,
That God has kept his promises. The kingdom’s in our midst.
He’s been with us for thirty years obeying God’s commands,
Born from a virgin mother in the town of Bethlehem.
The babe that magi worshipped and whom Herod tried to kill
Is maker of the heavens and commands the seas, ‘Be still.’
I met him and I knew him when we were still in the womb.
Though Israel has buried hope, it soon will leave the tomb.
So faithless and impatient have the people lately been!
Do not the promises of God endure from end to end?
But yes – it’s true. The day is here. Our God has made a way.
Salvation’s come to sinners and to all who’ve gone astray.
Let me tell you, friend, that you are blessed with eyes to see.
I pray your heart adores Him, and you come on bended knee.
Some years ago an angel said of Him who’s at the door,
‘A child has been born today – the Savior, Christ the Lord.’”
Merry Christmas, y’all. I pray that this is the reason you enjoy Christmas this year. Amen.
© Doug Walton and wearehungryformoreofYou, 2012.