Let’s Go to the Tape

As in Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, our “stockings were hung by the chimney with care” … save one minor detail – we don’t actually have a chimney, just a mantelpiece (where a gas insert is supposed to go). Twenty stockings in all were hung, one for each of our grown offspring, as well as the in-laws and grands, with an extra stocking included for my Beloved’s brother who lives nearby.

Given the number of people coming together, our Christmas gatherings usually have a boisterous and sometimes chaotic quality. Children are everywhere, running inside and out, upstairs and down, constantly asking when we eat next, or more importantly, is it time to open presents yet!

The pandemonium was short-lived this year. Because Christmas fell on a Monday, out-of-town family members were quick to depart. A ski slope beckoned. Others had work responsibilities. The adults didn’t even have time for a customary late-night poker match.

Once the house fell silent, I remembered a blog post I’d read before Christmas:  Why Christmas Never Lives Up to the Buildup. Posted by Tony Reinke, a senior writer at DesiringGod.org, the post mainly addresses Christians living in what Reinke calls “the space between.” (With both Christmas and my birthday coming on the same day, I experience this “buildup” as a kind of double whammy.)

Continue reading “Let’s Go to the Tape”

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The Big House

On separate occasions over the last couple weeks, two of my grandchildren have asserted:  “My house is bigger than yours.” Perhaps this is a twenty-first century equivalent to the claim from my era:  my dad is stronger than your dad!strong man

When the five-year old initially made the statement, I gently disagreed with him. “Yes, you live in a big house, but not as large as this one.” Factually, I was correct but this grandson would have none of it. Some weeks later, when my four-year old granddaughter posited the identical suggestion, I admitted the possibility. (She does live in a larger home than the grandson.) Continue reading “The Big House”

The Man From Uz

We’ve reached the last verses of the final chapter of The Book of Job. Through poetry and prose, readers have witnessed Job’s catastrophic losses and torments. We’ve also heard from Job’s comforters, offering their point of view on why Job deserved to suffer.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

The book is divided into 42 chapters. In October 2014, I first posted about my plan to compose (and post) a sonnet for each chapter. In early posts, I pared my compositions in order to condense each chapter’s narrative into the sonnet format of fourteen lines. Continue reading “The Man From Uz”

Forgiving The Comforters

As The Book of Job opens, the reader occupies a ring-side seat within earshot of a heavenly discussion between the Creator and one of His created beings, the deceiver Satan. This introductory conversation centers on a man whom God describes as “my servant Job.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

As the conversation between God and Satan progresses (through the first two chapters of Job), the account is told via prose. Starting in chapter three, however, the events of Job’s life (and suffering) are related through poetry. This epic poem carries us all the way through chapter forty-two, verse six … after which the narrative reverts once again to prose. Continue reading “Forgiving The Comforters”

Job’s Confession

Job’s days eventually came to an end. Chapter 42 in The Book of Job presents a concluding narrative of Job’s latter days in seventeen compact verses.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Seventeen verses … hardly enough to offer the level of detail one might appreciate. We want to believe life is consequential, and I think there’s no argument Job’s life was consequential but seventeen verses seem an inadequate summary.  Continue reading “Job’s Confession”

No One So Fierce

Last week, it was Behemoth. This week, there’s a new image as The Book of Job quickly draws to its close. This image is equally ominous and terrifying.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

From Job chapter 40, the image of Behemoth is God’s first object lesson drawn from the natural world. As follow-up to that magnificent image, Job chapter 41 brings us to God’s discussion of a second created beast, Leviathan. Continue reading “No One So Fierce”

Strength To Save

Throughout the preceding thirty-nine chapters of The Book of Job, we have a poignant picture of a great man brought low through misfortune and physical pain.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

As I contemplate Job’s story, my focus lands on two significant elements. First, I recognize the historic Job as an Everyman, the quintessential character in an ageless tale of humanity and sin. The second element I see (one that provides crucial context) is the behind-the-scenes heavenly drama which occurs outside our human realm. Continue reading “Strength To Save”

God of Wonders

We desperately need to hear God’s voice, to be reassured He cares about us. If we believe He is silent, our tendency is to conclude He doesn’t care. But when the God of Wonders speaks – really speaks! – there’s an opposite effect. We’re the ones who are awestruck to the point of silence. In that sense, we’re very much like our friend Job.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Looking once again at The Book of Job we’ve entered the final chapters of the book. In Chapter 39, there’s not a peep from Job. He’s been completely silenced as God continues to address his complaint. Continue reading “God of Wonders”

The End of Silence

When God speaks, He offers sublime clarity. Through thirty-seven chapters in The Book of Job, readers witness the multi-faceted drama. Initially, there’s a heavenly conversation taking place between Almighty God and Satan.

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

There’s also an ongoing earthly conversation between the suffering Job and his three comforters. Add to that the upstart monologue of Elihu as he belatedly chips in his two cents. And throughout the book, there’s Job’s handwringing challenge directed at a seemingly silent, unfeeling Creator. With his multiplicity of complaints, Job has thrown down the gauntlet, daring God to respond! Continue reading “The End of Silence”