Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent - The King on Your Doorstep

The True King arrives

The special child will be born.
    God will give us a son
who will be responsible for leading the people.
His name will be “Wonderful Counselor,
     Powerful God,
     Father Who Lives Forever,
     Prince of Peace.”
His power will continue to grow,
     and there will be peace without end.
This will establish him as the king
     sitting on David’s throne
     ruling his kingdom.
He will rule with goodness and justice
     forever and ever.
The strong love that the Lord All-Powerful has for his people
will make this happen!

Book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 9 verses 6-7, (ERV)

Advent, as we observed when we began these reflections four weeks ago, originally meant the arrival of a king. And just as the subjects of Rome long ago would have gone to great lengths to get everything ready for Caesar Augustus, Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of our King, Jesus of Nazareth.

Early tomorrow, while the sky is still dark (if tradition is any guide), the King will finally arrive. Not with a vast entourage of hangers on, not with all the opulent glory of an imperial ruler, but in obscurity and poverty and dirt. It still seems odd to us today, doesn't it? 2000 years have come and gone since Jesus' birth and we are quite familiar with this story. But we still instinctively associate luxury and showiness with importance and true power. When a world leader makes a gesture toward humility we do find it charming, but it would seem strange to us if they lived in a small apartment and ate cup-a-soup (although since I posted an earlier version of this essay one doing just that has turned up).


But the High King of the universe did live humbly from beginning to end, and he did it by choice.


I've come back to this dichotomy repeatedly throughout these little essays because it confronts me with a question: If God is like that when he comes to Earth, then what should I be like? If out of all the possible options he could have chosen he chose this one -- melding with and living among the poor and downtrodden -- then, out of all possible options available today, how should I live?


Tonight, for somewhere around the 2000th time, the High King comes again as a baby in that insect-infested manger, while his poverty-stricken parents and shell-shocked shepherds look on.


What does he want of us this time? Will we respond this year? Will we join his revolution?



*          *          *

Prayer: Our King, let us bow down at your makeshift crib with your poor, intrepid parents and worship you. And then help us to rise up and follow you wheresoever you may lead us. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, we pray. Amen.



Book of Isaiah, chapter 9 verses 6 - 7Common English Bible



Advent, as we observed when we began these reflections four weeks ago, originally meant the arrival of a king. And just as the subjects of Rome long ago would have gone to great lengths to get everything ready for Caesar Augustus, Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of our King, Jesus of Nazareth.

Early tomorrow, while the sky is still dark (if tradition is any guide), the King will finally arrive. Not with a vast entourage of hangers on, not with all the opulent glory of an imperial ruler, but in obscurity and poverty and dirt. It still seems odd to us today, doesn't it? 2000 years have come and gone since Jesus' birth and we are quite familiar with this story. But we still instinctively associate luxury and showiness with importance and true power. When a world leader makes a gesture toward humility we do find it charming, but it would seem strange to us if they lived in a small apartment and ate cup-a-soup (although since I posted an earlier version of this essay one doing just that has turned up).


But the High King of the universe did live humbly from beginning to end, and he did it by choice.


I've come back to this dichotomy repeatedly throughout these little essays because it confronts me with a question: If God is like that when he comes to Earth, then what should I be like? If out of all the possible options he could have chosen he chose this one -- melding with and living among the poor and downtrodden -- then, out of all possible options available today, how should I live?


Tonight, for somewhere around the 2000th time, the High King comes again as a baby in that insect-infested manger, while his poverty-stricken parents and shell-shocked shepherds look on.


What does he want of us this time? Will we respond this year? Will we join his revolution?



*          *          *

Prayer: Our King, let us bow down at your makeshift crib with your poor, intrepid parents and worship you. And then help us to rise up and follow you wheresoever you may lead us. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, we pray. Amen.


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