First Day of Christmas: A Child Has Been Born
For a people who were struggling against an oppressive regime, one whose power and authority seemed far reaching, generational and never ending, their hope for just and merciful leadership became real with the birth of a baby.
Hope became real with the birth of a baby.
Not a military coup.
Not a plague visited upon their oppressors.
Not a violent war.
Not power and might and horses and tanks and drones — but labor pains, child birth, swaddling blankets and anxious parents.
A child has been born.
Isaiah 9: 6-7 (The Message Translation)
For a child has been born––for us!
the gift of a son––for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be:
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God –of–the–Angel–Armies
will do all this.
Barbara Lundblad shares with us an alternative text for one of my favorite Advent Hymns – “O Come, O Come Immanuel”. She captures in such a beautiful way the yearnings of Advent for us in real time:
We are hopeful…so hopeful…
We desire to be free from weapons…
To be liberated from despair and apathy…
To be used so that justice will be made real for the poor, for children – for all of us.
Advent is more than just a season on a calendar to me. It’s an orientation, strategy – a lens.
We are actively “WaitingWorkingWitnessing” (I just made that word up, that’s what preachers do when we can’t find an existing word to fit what we are trying to say!) – waiting for God to dispel the night and working with God as a witness against every shadow, a witness for the power of God’s big amazing restoring love to give us victory over every conceivable grave, to revive every “withered place”.
That’s the everyday work of advent messengers.
O come, O come Immanuel
And bless each place your people dwell
Melt every weapon crafted for war
Bring peace upon the earth forever more
Rejoice! Rejoice! Take heart and do not fear,
God’s Chosen One, Immanuel draws near.
O come, green shoot of Jesse, free
Your people from despair and apathy;
Forge justice for the poor and meek,
Grant safety for the young ones and weak.
O come, now living water, pour your grace
And bring new life to every withered place
Speak comfort to each trembling heart:
“Be strong! Fear not, for I will ne’er depart.”
O come, dear child of Mary, come
God’s word made flesh within our earthly home
Love stir within the womb of night
Revenge and hatred put to flight.
Words by Barbara K. Lundblad