A Moment for Mission
"He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David." — Luke 1:33, NRSV
The Hebrew people were waiting. They were weary under the weight of Roman occupation and oppression. The promise land no longer looked promising. They were waiting for a hero in a long, dark, difficult time.
God sent a defenseless, dependent child to an incredibly humble beginning. Yet this small baby, like so many other small babies, was a symbol of hope, more than the usual hopefulness of new life and fresh starts. This was the hope of a king who could walk with the lowly.
When considering the lowly entry of this king into the world, it seems impossible that he would be great, that he would be the liberation the people were desperate to find. From all outward appearances, this king had a lowly beginning and a humiliating death.
Yet this is the promise we cling to at Christmas. We find hope in God showing up in unexpected places, in dark places, in hopeless places, in low places. We find hope in God who decided to walk with us. We find hope in the God who, when it looked like it was all over, showed up again, this time in greatness in power, for this God had conquered death.
God sent love in the form of the one who would stand with the lowly, from the moment of his entrance into the world until he took his final breath.
Most High God, today we thank you for the gift of your Son. Open our hearts that we would dare to follow the one who humbled himself to spend a lifetime on Earth healing the sick, feeding the hungry and caring for the poor. Amen.
From Disciplethip Ministries: Fourth Sunday of Advent – O Lord, our God, we praise you for your generosity. You provided tents, safety, and sustenance for your people Israel when they followed your pillar of fire in the desert. You called them to trust and worship you alone. Today, you give us what we need to live, work, and rest in peace. Help us never to take for granted your provisions for us: shelter, food, and Christian fellowship. We give these offerings for the ministries of our church to bless people in need of your help and love. May they come to know Jesus Christ, whose kingdom will last forever. Amen. (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16)
From the comfort of our homes, television commercials loudly proclaim holiday deals. Shopping malls are abuzz with frantic shoppers searching for matching holiday family pajamas and gifts; the anticipation of Christmas seems to have grown to frenzy. There is pressure to get everything perfect this year, from gift giving to entertaining. Trees are decorated, cookies are frosted, and it all comes to culmination on Christmas Day. Afterward, the decorations come down and the 24-hour Christmas music comes to an abrupt halt.
Yet, in the liturgical calendar, the Christmas season begins at sundown on Christmas Eve and continues through Epiphany on Jan. 6. These are the 12 days of Christmas.
Christmastide is the season of celebrating the birth of Jesus. Maybe we are celebrating all wrong or, once the noise of the "holiday season" begins to die down, we can begin to lean in, slow down and celebrate the birth of the Son of Most High, who humbled himself that he could live and die for the sake of the world.