FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The people of Jesus’ day were fatigued as we are, waiting for whispered promises of hope and renewal. Christians believe this fragile and tender newborn, hailing from an impoverished family, is God’s first sign of hope.
The Gospel writer John makes an astonishing claim about Jesus. In this Son of David “was life, and that life was the light of men.” A “light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
Yes, the answer to the world’s deep problems lay in a makeshift nursery, surrounded by farm animals.
Here we are, 2,000 years later … Why are we still waiting and longing and hoping?
Advent teaches us to both find a reason for joy – joy in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus – and yet ache with longing for the consummation of that promise, a kingdom of peace and justice this Son of David promises to bring when he returns again.
In that first century, it was outlandish, almost foolish to believe that the baby in the manger was the son of God and today it is just as bizarre to believe that he will return to make all things new.
Yet this is where followers of Jesus find their joy. Not an ebullient euphoria that papers over pain, but a deep seated and fixed anchor for the soul. Christmas – the real version – comes to us not as an alternative to our sorrow but in the midst of it and gives permission to spend this season in authentic and desperate longing for the better world to come.
USA Today, Dec. 20, 2020