Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Tuesday, December 15, Morning
By Dona McConnell
Is Jesus Still Coming?
Read Luke 2:10-11
“And the angel said to them,’Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'”
Christmas 2020 isn’t the Christmas we expected, or wanted. Everything in our world has changed. In these jarring days, we’re afraid to eat at a restaurant, or go to the movies or the beach. People are saying, “No Christmas this year!”
Every December, followers of Christ re-live the coming of Jesus in much-loved ways. It’s a beautiful story, and we love to hear it over and over again. Yet in this challenging year, we can’t attend a Christmas Eve service, or participate in a live nativity, or cheer on little “wise men” in bathrobes. It seems so far removed from the time when a young couple, blessed by God, welcomed the birth of a baby who would change the world.
But was it really so different in those prophetic days? The year Jesus was born was a hard year, too. There was violence and unrest throughout the land. Political factions were divided and pitted against each other. Leaders were fighting to stay in power or get more. Anything that smelled of new leadership had to be discovered and destroyed. Fear was rampant. Mary and Joseph endured a long trip across a hot land, riding a donkey, and when they arrived at the city they were seeking, they were refused food and shelter.
If we were orchestrating the arrival of Jesus, we might say, as we have with many things, “The timing couldn’t be worse. Let’s wait until next year.” But that was not how God planned it. Jesus came in the midst of all that chaos. He came because the world couldn’t wait any longer for its deliverer. He came because people were in the dark, and desperately needed the light. Jesus was the gift that was promised long before, and God was faithful to that promise. Few even realized that something significant had happened on that night. Yet a world-changing event had taken place right under the noses of people who were much stronger and more powerful.
This year, there probably won’t be any in-person services or holiday parties, but Jesus will still come. Even amid the confusion, even when many do not expect or even know the wonder of His birth, Jesus will come quietly; and if we open our eyes and hearts to his presence, we will realize that Christmas did come, after all. Jesus was God’s promise, and God’s promises never fail.
God of wonder and salvation, thank you for sending us Jesus, this year and every year. We need a reminder that Christmas is not a holiday, but a gift that is given to us over and over. Grant us the peace we all desperately need during this special season, and let our celebrations be wrapped around your Holy presence. Amen.
Dona McConnell is the director of the Beacon of Hope.