December Newsletter Article
(Bethany Lutheran Church, Cushing, MN; Faith Lutheran Church, Staples, MN)
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence… – Isaiah 64:1
When our children were small we always had some sort of Lego/Duplo (or their generic cousins) in the house for building things, and a game we would play would be called “Baby Godzilla.” I would try and build the tallest tower I could with the blocks, then Liesl or Josiah would come and knock it down, and they would laugh and laugh, and I would have to do it all over again (Hopefully fast enough before they stomped it down in the midst of construction.). If you remember having a two-year-old, you know the destruction they can wage without having a tower be built, so it became something therapeutic for all of us. I got to build something, and they got to destroy. We all won.
Now imagine God as that kind of child, the One showing up to knock down all kinds of things, and that is the Baby Jesus. It is fitting that this verse from Isaiah is part of our readings for the 1st Sunday of Advent. The God of all creation bottles up all of his glory into the flesh of that infant, and that glory is this God who rends the heavens and comes down to us. He is the God who crafted the universe through the Word of his mouth, and now that Word has become flesh so that he can dwell among us. In this child comes the One to make the mountains quake, boil the water, and make the nations tremble (Isaiah 64:2). A little Baby who is born to a non-descript girl in a lackluster setting is destined to be the One to bring about all the transformation this world could never imagine.
As we have entered Advent, and await the “coming” of Christmas, but even more so the second coming of Jesus, we know that in that Child lies more than chubby cheeks in golden diapers. He is more than the porcelain figurine of our nativity scenes or the Child sleeping in heavenly peace. Captured in our own flesh lies this Jesus who is the One that Isaiah says from of old no one has seen or heard of any other God besides him, and he is the God “who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)
During this pandemic we have seen much of our universe rend asunder. Our traditions, the things we wish we still had, have disappeared for a time, and now we wait. We wait for “normal” to return. We wait for our lives to be made whole again. We wait to get back the things that we have lost, but I wonder if that is what we should be waiting for this Advent. Maybe what is being shown to us this season is all the towers we have built that Jesus is knocking down. All the things we have crafted for ourselves that are fleeting hopes and dreams, when what we need is this Christ who ripped open the heavens like a present on Christmas morning desiring to come to you as the Baby born to die.
May this year be one in which our prayers become desperate pleadings for the heavens to be rend and for this Jesus to come and make his residence in and among us again. Even if we tremble and quake at his appearing, we know and we wait for him to come again that he might gather us up in his hands and bring us into the Kingdom of his grace and mercy. We wait now until that day, often impatiently, but we trust that in him is the God who works for those who wait for him.
Advent blessings to you all.