Shock. Surprise. Bombshell. Cataclysm. Upheaval. Disruption. For us, these words usually refer to something bad happening. A couple was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver on their way home from Thanksgiving dinner. This caused shock. Surprise. It was a bombshell to the family. A cataclysm. A source of upheaval and disruption in the lives of loved ones.
Advent, too, is about shock, surprise, a bombshell, a cataclysm, causing upheaval and disruption. Love breaking into the world, stirring things up and turning things upside down is a drastic unexpected turn of events.
Jesus, a poor peasant from a one stop sign town, was a complete surprise as a messiah. Not a first born son from a prominent, prestigious family. His ministry hit Israel like a bombshell.
While we may not like the way things are, we certainly don’t like change. And the birth of Jesus is about change. Scripture tells us that God does a new thing. The very origin of Jesus is an unexpected beginning for a messiah and it goes on from there. He heals whoever comes regardless of religion or ethnicity. That offends some. He criticizes the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. That stirs up others. Things eventually come to a head in the crucifixion. Jesus was far from universally loved and lauded.
In this season of lengthy darkness, cold stark nights, and short, frosty days in many climates, when things seem stark and bare and still, Advent signals a revolution. An upheaval that calls us away from our inner darkness to the light of healing love for ourselves and the world.
This year at Lakewood UCC the theme is “Give me Jesus,” the line from the spiritual. Jesus is the gift to the world that we celebrate at Christmas. Given the present state of things, we are mindful that to ask for Jesus is to ask for trouble – upheaval, disruption, shock, and surprise. It is also a plea for joy, wholeness, justice, and peace.
For reflection: How does the gift of Jesus rock your world? What kind of change and disruption come with the Jesus life?
Prayer: We yearn for healing. We long for peace. We want to see an end to injustice. We share these hopes and dreams with Jesus. We pray for the courage and vulnerability to receive the divine love bestowed upon the world in Jesus. Amen.