A 12th century favorite hymn welcomes the Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas that starts tomorrow. Yes, Advent is filled with gift shopping like the Magi – what gift can we give to that special person…as well as the obligatory gifts. Music fills the air like the angels singing to the shepherds. Hallmark has how many stories about the magic of the season – the census sending Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, an Innkeeper who found room with his animals, and foreigners arriving to worship. The Nativity story also acknowledges the loneliness of childbirth in a strange place, the fickleness of government policies, and the stresses of refugees seeking a place of refuge for their family. Monday we will start looking at this epic story as told through the eyes of Luke. This time of the year, in spite of all the stresses there are, has its own rhyme and rhythm.
The Nativity story was predicted 600 years before that baby’s birth when the Jews were in the Babylonian Captivity. The “three wise men from the East ” knew the prophecy! As I turn on the news every night, I wonder how much longer we will wait for Christ’s return as our world groans under the weight of human sin. Perhaps the story then and now is not that different. In any case, the hymn has each verse dealing with a different prophesized title for Jesus: Emmanuel (God with us), Lord of might, Rod of Jesse, Day-spring, and Key of David.
As we go through the hustle and bustle, we can rejoice that the docks are not backed up for God. We do not need an improved communications grid. We are always on his radar. His shelves are stocked, ready to bless – build relationship with us! Tomorrow we light the first candle of the Advent wreath, the hope candle that comes from prophecy’s anticipated fulfillment. Blessings as you enter the season.