It’s Advent Season, and Jesus is coming! Have you ever thought about what it must have been like to wait for the baby Jesus? I mean, if you’ve ever been expecting a child, you know the whole range of emotions will hit you during those 9 months. But what if you are expecting the Son of God?! The second person of the Trinity?!
Probably, most of us have this image of Jesus as an adult, already having “wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (Luke 2:52). But we might, except for this time of year, forget that he was also a very small, dependent baby boy. I’ll bet that each one of you who have raised little ones can well imagine what a handful he must have been, even if he was a “good” baby! For while he was “God in the flesh, dwelling among us” (John 1:14) he was also just as human as you and I. And forgive me for messing with the lyrics of “Away in a Manger”, but I believe that Jesus even cried in that manger!
Maybe that’s why some people had a hard time accepting that this squalling baby boy was the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Here he was, a helpless little baby, born under the poorest of conditions, placed in a cattle trough, not a royal crib.
There were various reactions to the news of Jesus’ birth:
• King Herod saw Jesus as competition, a threat to his throne. So Joseph whisked his little family off to Egypt, so that Jesus might avoid the sword.
• The shepherds, ah, so many real emotions that night! Fear, wonder, curiosity, and then excitement enough to want to tell everyone!
• Mary sang a song of praise (how many of you do that when you are filled with joy and excited anticipation?)
• Joseph, well, we don’t have much of his reaction, but I’ll bet he was so very proud and protective!
• Simeon—what a testimony to faithfulness! Simeon had been waiting for the “consolation of Israel” all his life long. When the Spirit showed him Jesus, he praised the Lord and died in peace! Anna’s response was similar, with thanks and praise!
• The Magi gave him their finest gifts!
How do we react to Jesus? Are we, like Herod, threatened, afraid he might mess with us, inconveniencing us in some way?
Or do we welcome him with wonder, awe and worship? Do we respond with praise and thanksgiving, showering him with the gift of our lives devoted to his service?
This Advent Season, we welcome you, Lord Jesus!
Pastor Ron Olson
Ron Olson serves as pastor of Bowman United Methodist church.