This morning I was reflecting on this Advent season-- a time of preparation. Not just putting up decorations and scouting out Christmas gifts. It’s a time of spiritual reflection. Repentance. It’s about tipping over the pedestals we’ve been propping ourselves up on and coming face to face with our need for a Savior. And then we wait. Advent is also about expectation. We wait for Him to come, and He does. That’s the Christmas part: Jesus comes. He shows up. He leaves behind the glory of heaven. He steps down into our dark world.
Things do seem dark. Scanning the latest news, the outrageous political claims, the violence, the hatred, the fear. It’s pretty dark stuff. But the world was pretty dark at the time of Jesus’ birth. Herod was a maniacal paranoid leader, sending soldiers through towns to kill children. Rome was an oppressive force-- demanding heavy taxation so that most Roman territories were forced into poverty. The Roman influence even invaded the temple, mandating sacrifices to Caesar. Rome’s demand on the regular people was so great that people were left with nothing, while the residents of Rome lived extravagantly. Many families were in great debt. Inherited land was lost. People were poor, hungry, and facing crushing debt. There was no relief from Rome’s oppression, and hope was scarce. Think, Panem from the Hunger Games, but without the fabulous costumes. While Caesar Augustus was being worshipped in Rome, the Son of God was quietly born in a stable.
Jesus entered into those dark times. He offered up his position of power and became vulnerable, at a time where fear was at the forefront and the political climate was chaotic. Jesus didn’t come to Bethlehem to overthrow Caesar. God’s plan wasn’t for him to take on the Roman Empire. He came quietly, humbly, to enter into the lives of people. The God of the Universe came down, he showed up. He came to change hearts and to show broken people the ways of God’s kingdom. He came to pour out extravagant grace and love; to save.
Israel was desperate to be saved. They prayed for the Messiah to come and save them.
I find myself in that same state of desperation.
Lord, Save us. Save me.
Bring hope and light and life to us in this dark place.
Lord Jesus come.