In the midst of the Christmas story we easily can find our self in a strange predicament. We are now in the third week of Advent; Christmas is less than two weeks away. By this time most of us have our Christmas trees up, houses decorated, and been to at least one Christmas party and we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Except that in the middle of all the planning, shopping, celebrating and running about there does seem a greater amount of fear and doubt at this time of the year as well. Physicians, physiologists, and counselors all report an increase in request for counseling, admissions to mental health facilities, and suicides all peak right in the middle of the holiday season. We hope and wait for the coming of Emmanuel asking the preverbal question: Is this all worth it? We try desperately to cover our darkness during this time a year by lighting candles on wreath, putting lights on a tree, and praying for peace on earth and in our family. We are full of Christmas cheer and all it takes is the loss of a friend or loved one, getting laid off from our job, and like a bubble being popped our joy and spirit. We quickly become disappointed in our selves, with the world, and even with God, which feels worse at Christmastime. We desperately wait and want at strong Messiah for a strong people, a Messiah who helps those who help themselves, a Messiah who knows how to stand up for His people and a Messiah we can be proud of. But what we get instead is Jesus. And measured against all the expectations and hopes of all the people, Jesus probably falls short of the mark disappointing many. I mean, let’s face it. The people Jesus seems preoccupied with- the lame, the deaf, the poor, the ill, and the dead are not exactly the popular or mover and shakers of our world. These people are not going to change anything. They can barely take care of themselves much less help someone else.
We are taught not to trust anyone, take nothing for granted, and cover all our bases. And so when push comes to shove we regularly hide behind our insecurities and fears, we hind behind our houses and careers, and desperately hide our failings and infirmities. We hold it all together until the word “cancer, downsized or divorce” is breathed and we find ourselves just as fragile and vulnerable as anyone else. And at these moment, especially during this time of year, the words of Jesus speaks offers some measure of comfort. This is what we prepare for during this season. This is the hope we find in our King. When we at times feel stuck between God’s promises made and God’s promises kept, when we , too, at times, know ourselves to live between Christ’s first coming at Bethlehem and his second coming. We can at t times feel disappointed at ourselves, the world, and even God, find ourselves whispering underneath our stress “Come Lord Jesus Come.” At those moments, we know whatever our misgivings, whatever our disappointment, God is not disappointed in us and comes to us anyway. Jesus comes to us eager to join us in our weakness, to hold us in our insecurities, and to comfort us in or fears. God in Jesus came to us not for the strong and the proud but the weak and the vulnerable. God in Jesus came for us which is cause to celebrate despite our fear, worries and doubts.
Peace, Love, Hope and Joy