Archive for December, 2013

December 1, 2013

Imagine His Coming (December)

When we were children, our most treasured toy was not a toy at all though it did transform everything else into toys. It was our imagination. With our imagination, a stick became the sword of a musketeer, a bathtub became a vast ocean for an explorer, and sofa cushions became impenetrable walls of a castle. I still remember one of the most fun times I had with my brother was when we were given a refrigerator box.

When we practice our imagination, whether we are a child or an inventor, we discover new possibilities to live and interact with the world. God knows this and set a special time aside every year for us to imagine, which we call Advent. During these four weeks before the Christmas season, we are called to pretend to be God’s people of the Old Testament, before the Messiah came.

Imagine what it was like living as God’s people, perhaps in exile in a foreign land like Babylon. Another power is ruling over you, yet you hear words of hope from individuals that are called prophets. “A king in coming to free God’s people!” “This Messiah king will establish a kingdom that will never end!” “The Messiah will be the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace!” “The Messiah will suffer for his people!”

Imagine not knowing the story of Jesus but hearing these words from the prophets. This is what the people of God were experiencing. “How do we put together all these statements of suffering and glory into the story of the Messiah?” According to 1 Peter 1:10-12, even the prophets and angels in heaven imagined how the story of the Messiah would enfold. It was all a mystery, but those with faith trusted that the Messiah would come to rescue God’s people.

And this is what Advent means: coming. How will the Messiah come? Will he come as a king, as a son of a king? Will he come with pomp and circumstance? Will it be like lightning in the sky that all can see? Will he overturn the kingdoms of the earth with violence? Will he establish his kingdom with our help or by himself? During the Advent season, we will be considering Old Testament passages about the Messiah and imagine together his coming to earth.

And this is our task for each and every one of us these next four weeks, to imagine ourselves as the Old Testament people and to imagine the coming of the Messiah through the words of the Old Testament. Our culture and those around us will try to rush us to the manger and the Christmas season, denying us a time to imagine. Do not be rushed. Walk slowly through the Advent season. Resurrect your childlike imagination. Join with God’s people of the past and you will discover that it will prepare you to be God’s people of the present.

In Christ,

Pastor Rich