"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Day 3 - Tuesday, November 29

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” (John Mason Neale)

Both scripture and other historical writings show that the Jewish people, long enslaved by Rome, were eagerly waiting for a Messiah, a Saviour, someone to come rescue them from their bondage and free them to be their own nation. These same sources tell in many places that the people wanted a mighty soldier and warrior to come with armies, horses, chariots and weapons to physically destroy Rome and prove to the other nations that the Jewish people were not to be reckoned with. They were God’s chosen people and they would be invincible. Powerful. Indestructible.

What did they get? A baby. A (probably) crying, squalling baby. Lying in a feed trough in a nasty stable in the nasty town of Bethlehem. No horses and soldiers. Instead donkeys, cows, sheep and dirty smelly shepherds. No wonder the Jewish people have such a difficult time in accepting Jesus as their Messiah.

What do you expect out of Jesus? Can you first remember hearing of Him? Can you first remember what you thought He could do for you? I remember as a young teenager when I first came to a knowledge of Jesus that I anticipated a world free of heartache, pain…full of sunny days and happy thoughts. Where the birds sing my name and the squirrels iron my clothes. Well, sorta. I honestly did think that I would now have the power to zap those kids that teased me for being a band nerd. And when I got in mongo-trouble for “borrowing” a school bus in 11th grade with some buddies for a McDonald’s run…I figured Jesus would get me out of trouble. Nope. Didn’t happen.

As we prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth, it’s a good idea to focus on what and who He really is. The Son of God. The One who was born and lived on earth, experiencing the same human emotions and struggles as we do so that He can understand what you and I face every day. The One who was finally betrayed and denied by his closest companions, then died the most horrible death imaginable (even by today’s Hollywood standards). But. But. But…He rose from the dead so that I can live eternally with Him. And all this because He. Loves. Me.

I cannot imagine this Love. I do some very unlovable things, yet, Jesus loves me. And I celebrate His birth in a few weeks. In a very personal way, I celebrate it.

Think about the Love that came down at Christmas and reflect on His love for you. I mean…really focus on it….not just a passing thought. Think about His Love. What are you going to do about it?

Joy to the World!


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