The news hit me just like any other. I was in my room, and once I heard the gravity of the event, I scrambled to get on the Internet and see this for myself. I stumbled upon a live news video that kept staggering and buffering as if thousands across the country were trying to hop onto this single feed. The scene was devastating. Children had died. Adults died. And they all died in a place we deemed safe. My first thought was, ‘something like this couldn’t happen. Not so close to the holidays!’ This event was about two weeks ago.
In moments of peace, in moments of prosperity, there can be events that jar the static nature of things. And when they do, they seek to kill. Families seeking to enjoy the holidays together found in a swift moment their family taken from them.
There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun –Ecclesiastes 5:13.
Things are not fair, one might cry in the midst of all this. I find this cry echoed in the words of the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes. The author of this book talks of everything in life being futile. He has experienced things under the sun, which have disrupted his normal way of life. He has seen evil prevail and the righteous perish, leading him to the conclusion that life is futile. So what does he propose for us? That we might not be overly righteous or overly wicked (7:15-17), be joyful, do good (3:12), eat, drink, and take pleasure in all our toil (3:13). Weird advice, huh? To the author, this was his solution to the main problem at hand: the problem of human experience.
This is a man plagued by the human experience. We die when its not our time, we toil for nothing, and evil prevails. To this author, the Covenant does not work! It is not going well for the righteous and things are not fair. This book exists as a counter-voice to the Covenant!
And yet, though things are not fair, this author holds onto a hope he has not seen evidence of. “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked. .” (8:12-13).
Where does this hope arise from? The human experience is so prevalent in the eyes of this author that this hope should not exist here. It is out of place in this text.
But then, fast forward several hundred years. We see God willingly step down into the human experience and bear all the pain and all the evil we have seen under the sun. God became human in the form of Jesus Christ.
That’s what makes the book of Ecclesiastes so groundbreaking and pivotal! It emphasizes the need for God to come down in the flesh. And that is what makes the Christmas story so miraculous! Jesus willingly became a baby and grew up within the wretched human experience that this author has been so poisoned by. He did that so that we can have a strong foundation of hope, unlike this author. This author struggled with hope. He held onto it, but had no evidence of it. But we do. Our evidence is found in Jesus Christ. We take comfort in knowing that He bore the crux of all the cruelty of the human experience so that when we go about our life, we may not scream that all is futile, but instead, we can have hope.
So as we see tragedy in the midst of celebration, let us hold on to hope. Let us emphasize just how pivotal and crucial it was that God became one of us. And let us rejoice in our hearts that what we face today will be met with the reward of an eternity with our Father, only made possible through Jesus Christ.