Christmas 2012 is over. The decorations cleaned and stored for next year, and the residue of the season swept into the vacuum, the trash or the washing machine. Table cloths, dish towels, and napkins, however need a deeper cleansing. A time and place for them to linger, in a sink filled with hot water and Oxi-Clean in order to remove the stains inflicted by holiday festivities.
If you’re like me, you’ve incurred a few stains and discolorations during the holidays too. The stain and depression of remembering those not with you at the table or around the tree. The stain of disappointments and failures. Unfulfilled expectations—relationships gone awry. The stain of guilt and fear of what has been and what’s to come.
So what’s next? Do we rush into the New Year, counting the days ‘til Valentine’s Day, worrying over the state of our nation, our family, our world? Or do we project clear to Easter—Resurrection Sunday and Spring, attempting to sweep the stains and discolorations under the carpet of life and just keep on keeping on?
The sun peeked through my window this morning and I found my mind skipping along the precipice of depression. A sadness burrowed deep in my soul. ‘Til I heard the Spirit speak to my heart, whispering words I have typed throughout the holidays. Born to Die.
Yes, we have just celebrated the miracle of the virgin birth of God’s Lamb in that manger in Bethlehem. But that baby, that Lamb was born to die. And the Spirit whispered again—linger here.
Linger at the Cross. Don’t rush to the empty tomb—linger at the foot of the Calvary.
But I don’t like to linger anywhere, much less at the Cross. I’m depressed already. It’s a hard place. It’s ugly. It’s uncomfortable. I see so much suffering on the tube and on the net every day. And I’ve grown tired and desensitized to blood and suffering. I am war weary—at home and across the world.
The Spirit said “all the more reason you must learn to linger at the Cross and contemplate the Lamb, born to die so that you might live with His joy, His peace, and His love.”
That old hymn played through the corridors of my mind … “There’s power, power, wonder working power. In the blood of the Lamb.” Then another melody stirred. “There is a fountain, filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…”
I thought about those linens soaking in the sink. In the power of Oxi-Clean. All their stains and discolorations disappearing. A rapid cycle through the washing machine wouldn’t remove the smudges—they needed soaking. They needed to linger in the power of a stain remover.
The Spirit took my face and turned my eyes to the miraculous power of the blood of Jesus. The power that His blood has to remove all the stains sin has ground into the pages of my life. I needed to linger and soak in that fountain of my Lord’s powerful blood this morning. Every morning and remember the Cross.
The journey through life on earth is messy. The filth of rebellious choices, a prideful heart, and selfish actions and the what-ifs had clung to my blemished soul, seeped to the surface and needed a good soaking—a daily soaking in the deluge that still flows from the Cross.
I invite you to join me. Stop awhile and ponder the Cross, the power of the blood shed there, and the love of a Savior—born to die—for you and me. Linger there. Experience the depression and weariness vaporize in the power and sovereignty of the blood of the Lamb—our Savior, our Lord and soon coming King.
Behold the Lamb!
“And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came, and He took (the book) out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne…and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou to take the book and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Revelation 5:10 NAS).