Named by God | Advent December 4, 2018

December 4, 2018

PSALMS 33, 146; ISAIAH 1:21-31; 1 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12; LUKE 20:9-18

By Grace Smith ’20

Please read Psalm 33: My mother for ten weeks this summer in Kigali, Rwanda, was a woman named Maman Lambert. Her given name isn’t Maman Lambert- it’s Beata Mukarubuga. No, Maman Lambert is the name she gave herself. Before 1994, she might have called herself a daughter, a sister, a wife, or a mother of eight. With the murder of her parents, husband, and 5 oldest children in the Genocide Against the Tutsi, all of these identities were snatched away- all but one. Beata Mukarubuga ran for the three months, hiding in the bush with her 1-year old son, Lambert, tied tightly to her back. And, when it was over and she and Lambert were still breathing, she renamed herself Maman Lambert out of gratitude for that little miraculous life. Over the past 24 years, Maman Lambert has embodied her trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and unfailing love by living into her new name; she does not dwell on the incomprehensible loss, but rejoices for her life. Under the weight of her experiences and out of reverence to God, Maman Lambert sinks to her knees to pray to our Savior- she weeps and mourns and begs and doubts. But Maman Lambert has found, in the life of little Lambert, the strength to stand back up; she sings and laughs and raises her arms to dance with a hope as bright as the oranges and yellows of her kitenge. This Advent, I pray that we might be a little bit more like Maman Lambert. I pray that we might not define ourselves solely by the difficulties of our lives or dwell with hopelessness on things that we have lost, but be empowered by the joy of a baby boy- a perfect miraculous little Gift in a time of turmoil.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33: 20-22)
Lord, even in the darkness that seems at times to envelop this Your beautiful creation, keep us mindful of the small joys, the little miracles. As Maman Lambert embodies the joy of her son each day, so too teach us to claim and to live into the name that you have, through the coming birth of Your son, chosen for us: Beloved Child