This last Sunday was the beginning of the Advent season. Many people have heard about this season, but not many actually know the implications of what we are celebrating. Advent is the month long “season” in which we anticipate the coming Messiah (a bit more to it than that….but this is for our purposes.) This season is often celebrated by the lighting of candles, traditions involving calendar decoration and media coverage that revolves around door buster deals at the nearest electronics store. This has caused the collective distraction of an entire culture. The time and energy that humanity spent anticipating the Messiah has now been redirected towards Santa.
I can only imagine the culture and concerns that existed when Jesus was born. People were being beaten, killed, and forced into poverty by a dictator who cared only for himself. The Israelites had given up much of their hope for the Messiah that the ancient scriptures promised. This Messiah was supposed to come with fanfaire, laser light shows, and visible glory.
Then….there was Jesus.
The circumstances and surroundings that defined his birth openly mocked the traditions that the Jews created in their own minds and passed from generation to generation. These concepts of the Messiah were ideal representations of who they wanted “him” to be.
So, Israel had lost hope for the coming of this conquering leader. They looked upward and towards wealth and power, but this Jesus offered them hope through humilty, brokenness, and sacrifice. Hope was right there…crying in the manger which was a dark and disgusting place. Jesus entered this way, because that was the state of the human heart. Darkness and depravity is not a fitting place for a king to dwell. Yet, for some reason, Jesus came anyway. Jesus specializes in bringing hope to the darkest place of your life……hope where hope does not belong.