Advent means coming and it is the season in which the church prepares itself for the coming of the Messiah. The reason why this coming is such an event is because it is closely connected with expecting. When the new King of the Jews was born it was the fulfillment of their expectations. Coming and expecting go hand in glove together here. But did the Jews in Jesus’ day ever expected their new King to be born in a stable? Did they even expect Him to be only recognised as King by the lower classes of society at His birth?
Looking to the latest news it looks like we’re living in a mirror image of the real Advent. Who had expected that Covid would come back with such a new variant that it brings fears back to all the nations?Who had expected that when humanity had gained some control at least over Covid with all their different vaccines, they might well have to start all over again? Who had expected that the stock markets would react so panicking again? And how for example last Friday the decline of the one-day commodity diesel price was the greatest in more than 30 years.
It’s time of turbulence and that also mirrors the time in which Jesus was born. The Jews were expecting the coming of a king to deliver them from the Romans. Are we now expecting the coming of a deliverer from the Covid. Hoping for new vaccines, getting a 4th booster soon?
What the Jews did not expect was a King which did not fit into their ideas of a king. Their ideas were of a warrior whom they could admire for his strength and authority. Are the nations now looking for a deliverer from the Covid that fits their expectations. A deliverer in the form of a great scientific breakthrough based on humanity’s new faith in science and progress?
Is perhaps God showing us that science and humanity’s potential is essential only an emperor with no clothes on as in the fairytale from Hans Christian Anderson. In this fairytale an emperor, continuing looking for nice and expensive clothes, hires two swindlers who offer to supply him with magnificent clothes that are invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent. A succession of officials, and then the emperor himself, visit them to check their progress. Each sees that the looms are empty but pretends otherwise to avoid being thought a fool. When the weavers report that the emperor's suit is finished he walks in procession in his so called new clothes throughout the city. Everyone goes along with the pretense, because they do not want to appear incompetent or stupid, until a child blurts out that the emperor is wearing nothing at all. The people then realize that everyone has been fooled.
At the one hand we are reminded again, through the latest developments, that we are only fragile human beings and are not able to control the world as how humanity wants it. David wrote in Psalm 144: O Lord, who is man that You take notice of him or the son of a man that You make account of him? Man is like a breath; his days are as a shadow that passes away. Pandemic, word-wide disasters, great wars, it are reminders that as human beings we are not as powerful as many think we are when it comes to controlling life and death circumstances.
Yet on the other hand, Advent reminds us that even when each of us is essentially only a shadow that passes away, God has reached out to you and me personally by sending Jesus Christ into the world. Advent is the beginning of the celebration for the coming of the Son of men as Jesus called Himself. And He came for you and me.