A NEW THING??
Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. —Isaiah 43:18–19
Christmas is especially for those of us whose lives are scarred and hurt in debilitating ways. Of course that means all of us. You see, Christmas is not finally about a baby and all of that romantic business. Christmas is about a word from God addressed to the world in its exhaustion. This word from the book of Isaiah is addressed to displaced persons who were mired down, and beaten, and about to give up.
- Walter Brueggemann – Celebrating Abundance (An Advent Devotional)
With this introduction Brueggemann begins his devotional for the actual day of Christmas. Not necessarily the most cheery introduction for that day for sure!?!
He does go on, however, to invite us as readers to become ready for and open to what those poetic words of Isaiah promise us in spite ofthe “scarred and hurt” reality so many of us are dealing with. He calls us to make ready for that “new thing” that God is about to do.. that new REAL thing God is about to do. Because that ultimately is the point of this season we are about to celebrate – that not only does God speak nice words of comfort to us… not only does God make splendiferous promises to us.. BUT.. in truth and in flesh keeps those promises and makes those words REAL -- in Christ… in that little baby about to be born in us.
And there is no question that this IS an utterly “NEW thing” God does! For no longer is the love of God just a lovely thought or a grand idea BUT (in a way we could not possibly have imagined & with a grace that is equally impossible for us to fathom) God does the absolutely unthinkable thing and comes to us.. comes to us in flesh & blood.. comes to us in a baby born in squalid poverty.. comes to us as an outcast to be love for the outcasts and all who fear the world is too hard & harsh a place for them.
During these seasons of Advent and Christmas we are invited to open ourselves to trust that the God who once so willingly & powerfully made his love for us REAL in Bethlehem is still just as ready to continue to make that love REAL in ourlives. We are invited to let that child once more find a room in our hearts.. to let that love into our world. For to be sure… just as Jesus’s birth - now 2018 years ago (give or take) - became the dawning of a whole new age for the world.. so too Christ’s advent (“coming”) into our hearts has just the same power to transform and recreate us with love.
May this Advent be time for you to “make ready”… for you too to become pregnant with hope for “new things”… and for you too to feel love born deep within you.
-- Pastor Stewart – Dec 2018