By David Wise
As we wrapped up the first week of Advent Conspiracy, I was personally hit with the reality that, for so many adults in church, the story of the advent of Jesus is so familiar that the majesty of the moment has all but evaporated. I’m not sure how many times the story must be heard before we reach this place, but as I looked into the eyes of those in the congregation I was hit with a sadness that we are so inoculated by the cultural presence of the nativity setting that we don’t think about how shocking and scandalous the good news really is.
When did this happen? Is there a certain age that we hit and suddenly we compartmentalize the birth of the Savior of the world into a similar category as Disney fairytales and make-believe? I realize that likely sounds harsh and condemning but I mean it as the opposite. The question that really matters is not when, or even how, but rather it is why. Why does it matter how we view the story of the Advent of Jesus? Why is our response important? Why should we slow down and read the story that so many of us are already numbingly familiar with? One word: hope.
The arrival of Jesus ushered in hope that ancient people had been waiting for since the dawn of creation. Ever since the Garden of Eden when the serpent deceived Eve and Adam, hope has been on the horizon. Throughout the history of the nation of Israel, hope is what the people were clinging to. Even within the nativity story that we read and hear every year, hope is at the forefront.
Although you and I may hope for a variety of things, true hope should be rooted in Scripture and focused on our relationship with God.
When the angel and the heavenly host appeared to the shepherds in the field outside of Bethlehem, they were displaying the glory of God (as we talked about Sunday) but they were also proclaiming hope. The hope was in the Messiah, or savior, who would bring eternal peace. Those in Israel in that day and age may have been desiring a different kind of hope, such as the freedom from Roman oppression, but God was offering something deeper and greater. The same continues to be true today, many of us are hoping for deliverance from addiction, financial despair, illness, brokenness, pain, or heartache, and yet God is offering something deeper and greater.
The hope of the Lord is for eternal peace between God and us, that hope only comes through Jesus and that is what was ushered in at advent 2,000 years ago.
Those of us in the church who have heard the story year, after year, after year, need to resist the tendency for this event to lose its majesty. This is the culmination of hope and it’s centered around God’s glory: who He is and the power He possesses to bring true peace.
Our desire, as a church, this Advent season is to do something bigger than just to read the story again, and again, and again. Our desire is to tune-in to God’s glory. As we tune-in, the hope that we find in Jesus should propel us to do something with this good news; eternal peace is not just for us it is for all people.
This is why we’re raising money to drill a well in Kenya: we want to bring hope to a people who are desperate. They are not merely desperate for clean water for their bodies but even more so they are desperate for living for water for their souls. We have the hope of the world in and through Jesus, that hope is not for us to consume like some expendable commodity, that hope is for us to share with the world around us.
If you want more information on how you can partner in providing hope check out www.adventconspiracty.org .