Friday, December 10, 2010


On November 28, 2010, we began a new church year. It began with Advent. This is the middle of the Advent season. We are preparing for the coming of Christ.

As Lutherans, we are liturgical. We acknowledge the season of the year. We remember what the season represents and we attempt to follow that which the symbols suggest. The basic focal point is the color that we use. The color is blue. It represents hope that comes from waiting. We are waiting for the Messiah, the anointed one. We are waiting for our Lord. We are waiting for the Son of God. Our hope is that God, through Christ, will bring peace to the world through love. We hope for social justice, political freedom, and economic equality which are all considered in scripture.

What we are waiting for and what we are hoping for is shaped by the reality of life. We read from the prophets and hear about the beauty of life that is promised. However, we recognize that such life comes from waiting, knowing that God’s time is not our time. We look for social justice, but realize that what we hope for is ideal. We continue to work for it and look to God for direction. We dream of political freedom, but know that those in power are as weak as we are. We continue to strive for such freedom. We wish for all people to live securely in safety, but know that evil is present in this world.

So, what are we truly waiting and hoping for? We begin by focusing on the arrival of Jesus. We look for his coming in the manger. We realize that the manger, the feeding trough, in which he was laid was not the kind that we place on our mantles or tables. Jesus was born in squalor. He was born, without a doctor, nurse, or mid-wife, in a shelter for animals. Manure was on the floor mixed with straw. There had to be vermin, such as rats and mice. Mosquitoes and flies would be ever present. The odor of the place would be a mixture of animals sheltered there. He was born, not set apart from us, but born to be one of us and to live with us and among us.

It doesn’t stop there. When we begin to “take in” all that it means for Jesus to be born in a manger, we realize that it is possible for Jesus to come to us every day. He comes to us in the manger of our hearts. He comes to us as we are. He lives among the “smells” of our lives and the squalor of our living. He resides with us as we open ourselves to prayer, join with one another in worship, and seek Jesus in scripture as we open the book of faith.

We also know that although he comes to us each day as the Holy Spirit opens our hearts, he will come again on that last day when he takes us all to be with him in his kingdom and we no longer have to hope for peace, security, and safety. We will be alive in the presence of God’s love beyond all time.

It won’t be long until we will be singing, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come.” Advent is the season of preparation when we can recognize that we are able to sing it each day of our life.

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