Recognizing a rescue

When it comes to Christmas traditions, music is the one that touches me the most. I have an ever-evolving list of favorite songs—“Lo, How a Rose,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” … but when it comes to albums, the top of my list has long belonged to John Denver and the Muppets’ “Christmas Together.”

Pretty traditional tastes.

That’s why my newest favorite Christmas song is a surprise. You probably aren’t hearing it on your favorite Christmas station or at any Christmas concert. It’s Lauren Daigle’s “Rescue.”

She sings:

“… I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you …”

Recently it struck me: What a perfect song for Christmas.

From a Christian perspective, Christmas is the greatest rescue of all time. The Son of God comes to earth as a baby—a stealth maneuver—to save us from our fallen humanity.

But his rescue was more than that. He also came to show us how to live, how to bring heaven to earth by showing us how to offer hope, food and healing. He showed us how to prioritize our time, our energy, our possessions.

But wait. If Jesus came to rescue the world, why do we still face crime, war, hunger, pain, disease, injustice?

Some rescue, right? We’re still stuck in this real world that is just not so great.

But here’s the deal: A true rescue is never the end of the story.

The knight on a white horse saves the princess from the fire-breathing dragon, and they live happily ever after, right?

But what about the next day?

Well, the next day, people get hungry, and someone’s got to hunt down supper or go to the market. Then someone will declare they hate rutabagas. Someone else will spill ketchup on her dress. And guess what? Someone else already used up the last of the stain remover and neglected to put it on the grocery list. And who’s going to do the dishes anyway?

(Am I the only one whose happily-ever-after looks something like that?)

The point is, the rescue isn’t the end of the story but the beginning.

When we’re rescued, it’s an opportunity to keep going, keep plodding, along.

If you asked my son about his rescue—because you could say we did rescue him, bringing him home at age 3 from a tough place—he would probably laugh, because what a bolloxed-up rescue it’s been.

Sure, we brought him to a safe, loving place, but my husband and I had no idea how to be day-in-and-day-out parents. Since the day we met, our son, my husband and I have been rescuing one other in countless ways, again and again and again.

Often from places we didn’t know we needed rescue.

I believe that’s what each of us needs in this life: to be rescued again and again and again. It helps to accept that and to recognize a rescue when it happens, whether in the form of a friendship, an opportunity, forgiveness or a hotdish (Minnesotans know what I mean).

And then offer the same.

As they say, sometimes we’re on the stretcher, and other times we have the strength to carry someone else’s stretcher.

It is in the acts of rescuing and being rescued that we have the opportunity to leave our old lives behind, heading toward the only goal that counts—to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world, bringing heaven to earth. Day after day.

Beginning after beginning.


Listen to “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle here.

Drawn from my “Recognizing a Rescue” talk at the Comfort & Joy Teas, East Park Church, Vancouver, Washington. Other upcoming events related to my memoir, The Same Moon, are listed here.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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