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  • Writer's pictureShannon Van Roekel

A Puzzle

Christmas is over.

New Year’s has come and gone.

Just finished cleaning up after the final goodbye party for the visiting out-of-towners who leave in the morning.

There’s still one puzzle piece lying forlornly on the living room carpet, but I didn’t see it till after I had already sat down after a very long day of entertaining and my body will not obey my mind’s desire to see it put away properly. I’m tuckered out and just want to drink it all in.

The fire in the fireplace is crackling and Vince Guaraldi (Charlie Brown Christmas music) is soothing my spirit via Spotify; the Christmas lights on the tree are still charming and the candle flame still shines out a hopeful light. The reflection on the windows and those multi-coloured iridescent ball ornaments complete this cosy, winding-down-out-of-Christmas-season, we’ve-had-a-very-lovely-time, but-now-it’s-coming-to-an-end moment.

It has been such an exceedingly satisfyingly joyful and blessed Christmas-time that I hesitate to share how beautiful it really was.

Not because everything was “perfect” and everyone was “happy” every moment, or got the perfect gift.

The turkey took forever to cook and multitudes of babies were hungry and crying and I'm pretty sure all the plates did not match nor was every piece of cutlery polished.

Actually it was pretty rough...serving upwards to 45 people in this house sort of looks like a lot of food thrown at the table (and some missing it) and good reason for the creators of BH&G to throw up their arms in despair.


What happened this year, somehow, in spite of us, and everything to do with the Christ child, truly was “peace on earth and good will towards men”.

We are not perfect people. Many of us have sinned terribly against one another: in the same room was divorced wife number one and wife number two of the same man, also present. In that room was the lost rebellious son who had struggled with alcohol and drugs and addiction, turned away from his family to pursue fun and pleasure, yet now is found again. Married couples who struggled through bitter hard years and come out on the other side to pursue love and grace were well represented. Mothers and daughters who have said harsh words to one another, and forgiven and forgotten. Abandoned children and the parent who abandoned them. Fathers and sons who have known each other’s greatest weaknesses and sins, and respect one another today. And yes survivors of abuse were present too.

We are not perfect people, but we have a perfect Saviour.

The promise of nativity came true as we gathered together to worship and honor and celebrate our Saviour, “...which is Christ the Lord”.

Through faith in Jesus’ death on the cross for man’s sins, and resurrection from the death, we know “peace on earth” this Christmas. We who are surrendered sinners stand in His marvelous grace where healing for the whole grotesque world and all our bitter conflicts exists, transforming each heart into a miracle of His reflected light (just like those Christmas balls), and bringing joy to all who see it.

But His “peace on earth and good will toward men” is not only for a couple of weeks at Christmas time, it goes on forever.

It was lit at creation with Adam and Eve, a flickering light that grew radiant when the promised, long awaited Messiah was born in a humble stable bathed in glorious starlight, then multiplied and spread as people stirred to the good news of “God is with us” and Christ’s Church began to grow and mature under the furnace of persecution and oppression against Her.

This amazing thing that God is doing, bringing blessed light into the great darkness of the world, according to His will and plan, is a marvelous operation on a timer.

It has a day of completion and dramatic fulfillment when King Jesus returns and takes up His rightful place as Ruler and Sovereign over all He has created and come to save.

His light never will dim.

We hold it for all eternity, it is ours when it is given to us--forever and ever.

We cannot lose this light.

It is of Himself, a seal that we are His. He knows His own, and His own know Him.

Perhaps you would like to come into the light.

Then come.

He says, “Come to me, all ye who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

Let Christmas begin in your heart.

And never end.

My puzzle piece is missing still from the place it was created to fill, laying on my carpet.

And you, my dear friend, are out of place, a tiny piece alone, until you yield yourself into His hands and let Him start a miracle in you that will shine forever, glorious and complete in His love, astounding in beauty and joy.

O come, let us adore Him!

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