But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.Luke 1:30–33
With all of the movies we see and books we have read, the idea of someone being alone and then experiencing the appearance of a being in their midst is not a shocking one to us. But what if that really happened to you? Imagine yourself as an ordinary teenager on an ordinary day just like many other ordinary days when out of nowhere an angel appears and tells you that you have been chosen by God to usher in the Mighty King of the Universe, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the world. It really is an impossible task to even imagine it; I suspect that nobody upon hearing Mary tell her story and replied, “I know exactly what that is like.”
God’s chosen people of Israel new of his promises, knew he would show up and make things right. They even had clues in the words of prophets that in hindsight we can connect the dots to how it happened, but contemporaneously, the people of first century Palestine had no idea — and because of that, so many missed it.
God still has a people he calls his own — the Church, his Bride. Like those who lived before his incarnation, we too know of his promises, that he will show up and make all things right, that even now he is in our midst, that we have the very Spirit of God living inside of us to guide and comfort us. So it would seem to make sense that it would be much harder for us to miss his him. And yet I am convinced that many of us do.
And so during Advent (and beyond) we as the people of God are challenged to:
Keep Watch — because his Kingdom has already begun and is breaking in all the time.
Prepare The Way — because expectant people prepare for the arrival of what they are expecting.
Have Hope — because our hope is not in our circumstances, but in the one who is Lord of all circumstances.
Live With Joy — because the appearance of the Lord results in a deep and resounding joy.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the fulfillment of the promises of God, the fullness of his love and his presence among us. God can appear to us at any time and at any place, when he does, do not be afraid. As Christmas approaches I pray that you do not miss him, for he is equally with you in the joys and the challenges of this and every other season.
P.S. Several people have asked for links to the videos that I shared this Advent. Click on the weeks below to watch.