Why He Came…a slave’s view (Emmanuel – God with Us)

Jesus baby jesus protects

So, I’ve been overwhelmed with sorrow the last couple of weeks.  A week ago it was a renewed anger, disgust and just anguish over sex trafficking and slavery in general.  After last Friday, when the Sandy Hook disaster happened an hour from me (though the whole world feels close and noone can truly comprehend the sorrow of the families involved), I’ve lowered into my sadness.

I think sadness can be good.  Anger too.  They serve a purpose.  They remind us that the world isn’t what God intended and they honor God with our anger and our tears.  Gifts of mercy come out of it – prayer and action too, but I felt stuck this time.

Each year at Christmas time, I feel like Christmas came too soon and that I didn’t get my act together to reflect and do the waiting/hoping/cleaning of my heart that I desire to do for the arrival of Christ.  However, each Christmas, I am reminded that it is all of that…and so much more, that Christ came for.  He came for the dirty, the dark, the sadness, the years of waiting, the confused, the broken.  His arrival was announced first to the dirty, lonely shepherds.  I knew that.  I expected I’d find myself there again this Christmas, but admit I wanted a different story a little – a different twist on my pathetic-ness perhaps.

Yesterday, I watched Amistad.  My kids are learning about the Civil War and Abolition.  Though at least I recalled enough about the movie to not have them watch it (thank goodness I saw the ratings too), but I decided to watch it.  Again, I was broken by it.  Like Amazing Grace – it is a movie about the court system, about abolition and the horrors of the trans-atlantic slave trade.  However, the explanation of what happens to the slaves on the ships is more graphic – which is horrible, but real.  It was more horrible, knowing such treatment of humans has not ended.  However, one scene in the movie blessed me more than I could have ever imagined.  One of the slaves was trying to understand the pictures in a Bible he was given by an abolitionist.  A couple of the photos (from that Bible) are above.  The scene is written below: http://youtu.be/uFmFX5nug4w 

Yamba: [looking at a Bible]
Joseph Cinque: You don’t have to pretend to be interested in that. Nobody’s watching but me.
Yamba: I’m not pretending. I’m beginning to understand it.
[outside, a priest blesses himself]
Yamba: Their people have suffered more than ours. Their lives were full of suffering.
[turns to a picture of the newborn Jesus Christ]
Yamba: Then he was born, and everything changed.
Joseph Cinque: Who is he?
Yamba: I don’t know, but everywhere he goes he is followed by the sun.
[turns to a picture of Jesus healing a man]
Yamba: Here he is healing people with his hands…
[shows Jesus defending Mary Magdalene]
Yamba: protecting them…
[shows Jesus and the children]
Yamba: being given children…
Joseph Cinque: [sees Jesus walking on water] What’s this?
Yamba: He could also walk across the sea. But then something happened. He was captured, accused of some sort of crime.
[shows Jesus with Pontius Pilate]
Yamba: Here he is with his hands tied.
Joseph Cinque: He must have done something.
Yamba: Why? What did we do? Whatever it was, it was serious enough to kill him for it. Do you want to see how they killed him?
[shows the crucifixion of Jesus]
Joseph Cinque: This is just a story, Yamba.
Yamba: But look, that’s not the end of it.
[shows the disciples taking Jesus’ body down]
Yamba: His people took his body down from this… thing… this…
[signs the cross in the air]
Yamba: They took him into a cave. They wrapped him in a cloth, like we do.
[shows the Resurrection of Jesus]
Yamba: They thought he was dead, but he appeared before his people again and spoke to them. Then, finally, he rose into the sky.
[shows the Ascension of Jesus]
Yamba: [the priest prays in the background]
Yamba: This is where the soul goes when you die.
[shows a picture of Heaven in the clouds]
Yamba: This is where we’re going when they kill us. It doesn’t look so bad…


Again…my hope for this life, for death, is in Him.  Again…I am reminded that EVERYTHING CHANGES at Christmas for there, He came for us.

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