Advent: Week 3

Read Isaiah 35 Here we find hope. What has been declared in Christ already, we look forward to. “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside is not a bad picture of advent.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Further reading: Isaiah 30:27-35:1)

Luke 1-2 The Tale of Two Ladies and a City

Read Luke 1-2. This is probably the longest and slowest of all the Christmas stories. But it is probably the happiest and most celebratory account of all. The first chapter seems to climax on songs and celebration as the two mothers of two of the greatest men in the New Testament are brought together.

What would you do at such great news? What would you do when you found out those who are closest to you have some great news as well? Who would you call, email, skype, or text? Elizabeth and Mary got to experience all of this together. The greatest news of all time which will be great long after they are gone has come, and they are the ones to bring it into the world. Two women, two people who aren’t trusted in courts, aren’t trusted with leading families, and aren’t even trusted with leading in worship are given the chance to bring the Gospel to the world. This is no normal story.

In chapter 2, the circle of celebration just keeps growing. Shepherds who probably represent commoners who are fed up with the powers that be but are just trying to make ends meet are met by hordes of Angels. Prophets and religious elites who at the end of chapter 2 should know everything and how to interpret everything are amazed by a child, one who is to be quiet, taught, and guided. He is the one who identifies with all stories, classes, races, genders, etc., and yet he changes them for the better and bring joy into those lives.

The Gospels are amazing. Isaiah 35 shows us this same level of celebration. Song, dance, leaping, peace, and everything that is good.

What is great to you?

A new experience,

an adrenaline rush,

people doing things for you,

getting what you have always wanted?

Or is it being in the family of God,

loving others,

being happy with someone else’s happiness?

The kind of God we serve came bring the types of joy that is from outside of yourself, bigger than yourself. Take joy in the story from Isaiah 35. Take joy in the story found in Luke 1-2. We all have met people who are hurt and oppressed and in despair, but there is also a God who brings joy to the sad and humbles the mighty who make others sad.

I would rather be on the receiving end of grace, being amazed, baffled, and overjoyed as the people in Luke are, than to be brought down and judged as Herod in Matthew.

Happy Christmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now…”

This song by John Lennon, though a man who thought Religion was a problem in society, describes perfectly what the Christian hope is through Luke 1-2 and Isaiah 35. There should be more joy and goodwill, especially in the days leading up to the remembrance of Christ on earth. The funny thing is that if you look at the traditional Christian calendar, you hardly have a day not to practice what Mr. Lennon was saying.

Advertisements