No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.
Not an inch of our lives is left unimpacted by the radical shift in history Christians call “the curse.” It captivated our hearts, minds, and emotions. It tainted our motivations like a poison, or racks our bodies with pain, or shortens our days. We can feel lost in the woods of our seemingly never-ending wrongness, desperately searching for some goodness in ourselves and our actions.
The curse holds not only who we are and what we do, but also what others do to us. It scars hurtful words in our memory, burdens our relationships with conflict, leaves the touch of an unwanted advance on our skin, or empties our life with betrayal or abandonment. With such a brief list, I’ve barely covered the wrongs that have been or can be done to us.
I was raised in a Christian family, so I was never naïve to these realities. Every Christmas season, I heard whispers of the curse in every festive greeting, carol, and story. It was no sound of doomsday—it was always presented with the hope of the gospel in the Christmas sermons and the family advent readings. But the whispers brushed against the rosy-glassed “Merry Christmases,” sleighbell soundtracks, and happily-ever-afters that played on the TV every year. They hushed the surface-level cheer to hear the sorrow beneath the surface.
This year, those whispers sound more like sirens. I’ve lived just enough life for people and places to shatter my expectations of happiness and cheer. Friends and family are riddled with anxiety, diseases, chronic pain, or unemployment. Hearts are broken by rejection, deception, and strife. My memories are haunted with foolish decisions, hurtful actions, or ways I’ve sought my own glory instead of loving others. And on top of all these disappointments in my little corner of the world lies a never-ending list of divisions in our culture and fears of the unknown.
Everything seems to sound the never-ending alarm that things are not the way they should be.
And sometimes, the sirens even drown out my faith. I start to believe that the curse is all I’ll find, wherever I look. Won’t the Lord fail me, just like an unfaithful friend or fallen leader? Is redemption as fragile as the ornaments that decorate the season? Is hope just a cover-up for sorrow we can’t hide forever? Will the truth of the Christmas carols ever rise above the sirens of the curse?
Perhaps you’ve asked similar things this year, staring at all the lights and trimmings and singing carols with a congregation. Such questions infest our souls as the old carol’s “thorns infest the ground.”
Will everything ever be as it should be, when all we know is what shouldn’t be?
This is a question for Christmas, when God became man to crack the curse.
God visited our world as a sinless man, born of a virgin. He came from more than we know or can imagine—from the pleasures and treasures of God’s right hand (Ps. 16:11). Yet, he left them all to give us not more comforts, riches, or beauties that merely silence the whispers and sirens of the curse. He came to do more: to unravel, replace, and remake it all, far as the curse is found.
Jesus came to radically shift our history against the tide of sin, Satan, and death. He did not leave the chasm sin made between him and us, but filled it with his obedience and sacrifice (Rom. 5:19). He did not leave your failures dangling in your face—he nailed them with himself on the cross (Col. 2:14). He did not ask you to secure your salvation—he did it for you (Jn. 6:39). He did not turn away from the wrongs done to you, but promised vengeance on judgement day (Rom. 12:19). He did not leave you to solve your fears, doubts, and tears on your own, but gave his ever-present helper and comforter (Jn. 14:26, 16:17; Acts 9:31). He did not call you to carry your cross, with all it entails for you, without also rest for your soul (Mtt. 11:28-30).
Salvation and sanctification are the dawn of consummation, when everything will finally be as it should be. Then, “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4).
The moments when hope is a little easier and the Christmas lights make the days a little brighter, we get a preview of what’s to come. But if questions are clouding your hope and dimming the holiday lights this year, don’t let your doubt cloud your memory of the moment when God started to make all things new: when he pinpricked our world as a sinless, spotless lamb, lying in a manger, and unbound the curse on your soul the first moment you trusted him (1 Pt. 1:18-19). These are proofs that God will do what he says he’ll do: he will make all things new (Rev. 21:5).
I can’t pretend to know what’s cursing your Christmas this year. But I do know, whatever it is, even that—he will one day make it new.
Then, will our doubts no longer corrode our faith? Far as the curse is found.
Will our losses become gain? Far as the curse is found.
Will our bodies no longer writhe in pain? Far as the curse is found.
Will our mistakes no longer taunt our memory? Far as the curse is found.
Will our deepest sorrow turn to joy? Far as the curse is found.
From our first to final breath, will he really make his blessings flow? Far as the curse is found.