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As we approach Christmas time we’ve already begun thinking about shopping. Trying to think about what presents to buy for family and friends, it can be a bit of a mine field. This week I’ve been emailing my sister-in-law about what present to buy my nieces, I’ve no idea, it’s pressure, you don’t want to waste all that time and energy. You don’t want them to be disappointed. I remember when I was about twelve, my parents bought me a keyboard for Christmas, but before Christmas, my dad had doubts if I would like it. So, they showed it to me before and their doubts were confirmed, I wasn’t into it. I think I probably wanted a new football kit instead.
We have an idea of what we want and sometimes what we get doesn’t line up. We hear a lot at this time of the year about the gift of Jesus to the world. It must be said that the gift that people expected wasn’t exactly what they had in mind. In the Jewish tradition they thought that the gift of the Messiah to the world was going to be a powerful ruler.
When Jesus begins his ministry people are a little perplexed. John the Baptist has been talking about the Messiah, proclaiming ‘Prepare the way for Lord’. Exciting words. But we hear during Advent that even John is saying ‘is this the Messiah?’ is this the one we’ve been waiting for?
It wasn’t really that people thought this is a bad gift. It’s just that – we don’t understand, this isn’t what we were expecting. Jesus doesn’t disappoint, but he does cause us to scratch our heads. Instead of a mighty ruler, like the rulers of the day, Jesus isn’t interested in being what people expect.
He is interested in what people overlook.
Refocusing us on what really matters, when John’s disciples ask ‘is it you’ or is what we expect just around the corner, Jesus doesn’t proclaim himself, he proclaims the Kingdom of God. He refocuses their intention.
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. This isn’t what they expected. Jesus defies expectations. Advent season is a time for preparation sometimes we all have questions and expectations and even disappointments about God. We ask ourselves who this Messiah is? How can this Messiah work in my life? Does he care about the lonely and the forgotten and those on the outside. How does this gift change how I see the world?
Its ok to ask questions. Scripture is full of them. Its healthy and biblical to ask questions
As we prepare our hearts as individuals during Christmas, we prepare our hearts collectively as the Church. As a community dedicated to this gift. This messiah who doesn’t forget those on the margins, he brings healing and love and good for news for the poor. We are asked collectively to re-dedicate ourselves, to continue this ministry in the partnership with the spirit. To align ourselves with Jesus, this gift that does not disappoint but defies and ultimately exceeds all expectations.
With prayers and best wishes
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