Tragedy, Theology, and Christmas
(First published on CaringBridge, December 2018)
Many times throughout my life, I have had to grapple with my belief system -- what do I believe to be true about God? A.W. Tozer said, "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." Growing up in a pretty conservative tradition (ie "You have to stand behind the piano to sing a solo tonight at church because you wore pants"), I have believed God was ready to swat me at the slightest wrong move. I have believed God loved me to the extent that I could earn His love by being good. I have believed that the primary motivation for accepting Christ was to avoid hell. I have believed that if I just prayed hard enough with the right words and enough faith, my mom wouldn't die of lung cancer.
Today if you ask me about my theology...TODAY...I would say that the thing I most embrace is the theology of incarnation -- God with us. This Christmas I grasp this reality more than ever. I just rubbed on some rose-scented hand lotion from my new friends at Beach Kids Therapy Center. I just read through CaringBridge and Facebook posts expressing care and concern for Chandler and for us. I just ate a scrumptious cookie baked for me by Julie Cumming. I could fill pages listing the many tangible blessings that have come to us since our lives changed last Saturday. Each text, post, gift, visit, prayer, phone call, and hug is a clear demonstration to us of JESUS WITH SKIN ON. That is the incarnational message of Christmas.
We are not in this alone. We know that God is WITH us. God is WITH Chandler. God is WITH you and your family this Christmas. That's the whole point, and it makes all the difference.
For me, I have arrived at the conviction that it is less important to believe the correct set of facts than it is to accept and embrace the simple reality that God longs to be WITH us. In celebration and in tragedy. This Christmas, the Espinoza family is utterly dependent on this truth -- Immanuel, God is with us.