I heard a story last week that has been relentlessly haunting my mind with images.
I see a picture of a toddler boy meeting a woman behind bars, his innocence shielding him from the harsh reality that his birth mother has been sentenced for life.
I see a woman forced into household servitude in a foreign land, and in a desperate attempt for freedom, lit a fire that claimed two lives. She believed according to local superstition, that a fire in the house would compel the head of the household to send her back home. Yet in an ironic, cruel twist of fate, her frantic gasp for air suffocated any hope of her return.
I see the dark prison, an institution of society’s justice system, meting out justice to a woman who has never known justice herself.
It’s the Advent season, a time we remember how God incarnated Himself in a tiny baby into our broken world. He did not come so we can arm ourselves with weapons of judgment. He dared those who have not sinned to cast the first stone at an adulterous woman. To his executors he blessed with forgiveness. He came, instead, to bring deliverance for the poor, for the orphaned, for the widowed, for the condemned. His message is one of light in the darkness. He came to tear down the walls we erect to keep the murderers safely out of the sight of our comfortable lives. He came to shatter the moral categories we develop to separate the sinners from the righteous. He brings with Him a new radical vision for all to embrace. In that vision,
I see the toddler boy adopted into a loving family. I see redemption.
I see full forgiveness of God extended to all, even those who have committed capital offense. I see grace.
I see justice for the poor, so no girls are sent away by their families in order to survive. I see deliverance.
I see beauty for ashes; comfort for mourning; mercy for judgment.
Jesus has come, and in his life, death, and resurrection, he’s brought forth His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Today, may hope flood our hearts and spill over into the darkest corners of the world, perhaps into a prison holding a broken woman, mother, and daughter of God.