Wednesday, December 2, 2015
flashbangs and advent...a new way to look at Christmas
We began our Advent season hunkered down on the floor in Jack's bedroom
because a manhunt was taking place in our neighborhood.
A suspected murderer who was considered armed and dangerous was on the loose.
We had just finished eating dinner and I told the boys,
"Go pull the garbage cans down to the curb."
And Scott said, "I hear something going on outside...
let's hold off on the garbage cans."
What he heard were choppers circling in the air.
He went to find out what was going on at our neighbor's house.
She told Scott we had been advised to barricade ourselves
in our homes.
Lock the windows and the doors.
There was a neighborhood wide lock down.
Some houses nearby had been evacuated
and a command center had been set up at our nearby elementary school.
This is the suburbs, folks.
Not the Blacklist.
So we sat tight.
Scott began gathering weapons.
A huge candlestick.
His sai...a weapon from his days as a black belt.
I am married to a ninja pastor.
We found out later our friends' dad (a pastor in his 70s)
who lives down the street from us had his hunting bow ready....
pastors don't play when it comes to protecting their people.
Scott also may or may not have taken out the blade from
our industrial strength blender to wield as a sword.
The blades are so sharp I get a little scared each time I make a smoothie.
He placed wedges under the doors and secured the windows better.
I tried to be calm. That was my job.
To bring the calmness.
And to call 911 if someone tried to break down our carefully constructed defenses
while Scott took down the perpetrator.
You think I am kidding.
I am not.
It was a little tense.
Let's just say that the plush toy that plays the song, "Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer"
was banned from the living room.
There are certain tunes you just can't take when your life is in jeopardy.
The boys tried to distract themselves with screens.
We were an hour and a half into lock down when we heard a huge bang.
It was a flash bang (stun grenade) used to disorient and aid in the capture without
actually causing harm.
We were disoriented....that is for sure.
Scott and I peeked through our front windows to see the police standing in front of our
house and blocking off off our street with yellow tape.
It was at this point that we moved into Jack's room -
the room with the least amount of windows.
Scott was following the police twitter feed.
The police had a house surrounded down the block.
The helicopters were still circling overhead.
I began texting people to pray.
Pray heavy as my mother-in-law would say.
For angels of protection and wisdom and safety for all involved.
Prayer that no one would be hurt.
Especially the officers who were standing guard in front of our house.
And a half an hour later, the announcement was made online
that the suspect had been apprehended....
4 houses on down across the street from us.
We were relieved and pretty much freaked out.
The weaponry has not been put away yet.
We gave each other hugs and high fives.
And we slept snuggled up against each other, thankful and close.
I have been pondering this event in light of Advent.
You may be thinking,
"Hey, manhunts and blender blades don't have a whole lot to do with Christmas."
But they do.
They did when Jesus first arrived 2000 years ago.
They do today.
Because the people of this earth, in a million different ways,
are sitting in the dark, afraid.
Hoping beyond hope that someone will protect them, hold them close,
keep them safe, lift them out of their fear and that nobody will get hurt.
And the best part of Advent, the whole reason for Advent,
is that Someone heard our cries. And He did something about it.
All these long years we have needed a Savior.
The man on the run and the parents who love the man on the run.
The family who lost their daughter.
The police out in force and the neighbor peeking through the blinds.
The pastor who is protecting his family.
The kids who are scared. The elderly lady alone in her home.
We all are in desperate need of a Savior.
And those are just the people in my neighborhood.
Then there is you and your neighborhood.
And the millions of other neighborhoods dotting the globe.
And the ones who don't have neighborhoods at all.
The orphans. The refugees. The trafficked. The runaways. The lost.
He sees us all. He knows us each one. And He is working out his plan.
At great detriment to Himself, Jesus came into the darkness of this world.
He saw us sat down in our fears, our pain, our sin and our despair.
And cracked the sky with his light and great love and said,
"I am here...with you...in the middle of this mess.
And even better..if you just hold on to me...I will save you."
It is what He came to do.
Preach good news to the poor.
Bind up the brokenhearted.
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
Release the prisoners from darkness.
I thought hearing that we were safe in our home was pretty great news.
But knowing that we are not alone,
that we are caught up in His Love and Light
and if we just hold on to Jesus...that He will save us?
That is life-altering-hope-filled-we-will-never-be-the-same kind of news.
And that is what Advent is all about.