It is December 1st, a year has passed with groaning headlines, with triumph and failure, with peace and war, with love and wickedness.
And after a year we come back to Advent again. We return to that stinking manger where the King was born. We stop amidst the chaos of the world and look again at the largeness of our Creator humbled and entering into our suffering world. Our world is bursting at the seems with despair and pain, and he came as a tiny helpless baby: a bundle in swaddling clothes, bursting with promise.
Advent is here.
Advent is the eager hush before the grand orchestra strikes up, it is the darkness before the first light of dawn pierces, it is the deathly thirst before a spring of living water bursts forth from a barren land.
Advent is waiting. Waiting with humble hearts; hearts that know human failure, hearts that know need, hearts that know weakness, hearts that eagerly and gladly welcome this Jesus, because we know, he alone is our hope for lasting love, for peace, for triumph.
Advent is here.
Can you hear the prophet whisper amid the bustle and shouting of the world?
For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
And over his kingdom,
Establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Make room for him, this humble Savior who came to us among braying donkeys, welcomed by a teen mother and her carpenter husband, some shepherds, and a host of angels.
Remember the promise made on the outskirts of the garden, as animal skins were wrapped around naked, shame-filled bodies. Remember how desperately we need this tiny baby who grew to be the final sacrifice for our shame. Remember that he fulfilled that promise with himself, hanging from a cross, as those he had lovingly created hurled insults at him while he bled to save them.
We wait for his future coming, with certainty that he always does as he says, and one day, this Prince of Peace will re-create this world that crumbles under the weight of our pride and rejection of him, and he really will wipe away every tear. He is hope, faithful and certain.
He came once, an infant destined to die. And he will come again, a King destined to reign.