“I’m not one to second guess
what angels have to say
But this is such a strange way
to save the world.”
—Donald A. Koch, David Allen Clark, Mark R. Harris
A strange way to save the world, indeed. If we’re really honest with you and with ourselves, Lord God, we don’t completely “get” what you’ve done for us in the coming of Jesus.
We get pieces of the puzzle, and we celebrate joyously what our limited imaginations can grasp. But we can too easily join the chorus of, “Why him?” “Why here?” “Why her?”
I for one am often prone to second-guess what angels have to say. I try, and fail, to wrap my mind around the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of salvation, the mystery of faith itself. I second-guess everything—a lot.
It sometimes seems like a highly visible, high and mighty, fully grown military leader extraordinaire might fill the bill better than a red-faced, squirming baby who makes his grand entrance on the scene with no one but animals and shepherds and dirt-poor parents for company.
When my second-guessing takes me down that particular road, I know it’s time to stop, slow down, breathe in and out, and be still.
Still enough to hear your voice of love through all the garbage in my head. Still enough to allow your Holy Spirit to re-capture my imagination. Still enough to remember that you are God and I am not.
And still enough to remember: that you always do things in unexpected ways, that you continually confound those who are wise in their own eyes, that you choose to make yourself visible in the weak, the lost, the little, the least, that you are not in the business of taking over the world by force, but you are in the business of wooing your human creatures in ways that are subtle and strange, surprising and mysterious. And for that, we most humbly say, “Thank you.” And for that, we most humbly ask, “Woo us, O Lord.”
For we’re here in this time of Advent, God, to say that we need a Savior, a healer, a companion on the way.
We’re tired of the overhype and the overkill, our bodies are aging, and we yearn for heaven. We need a Savior, a healer, a companion.
Many of us dread these days of celebration ahead—we’re missing people who are absent from our family circle, through illness or death or divorce; we’re struggling with illness and pain ourselves; we’re tired of the overhype and the overkill; we’re broke and we’re frightened about the future; we’re facing exams and papers and deadlines and not enough time or energy to do any of it; we’re facing the harsh reality of aging, failing bodies and we yearn for heaven.
We’re a mixed up, crazy bunch here, Lord. And we truly don’t get it a lot of the time.
But we deeply desire to get you. Through all the questions and all the wrestling, and all the sighing and all the wondering—we want you.
We want you to be—in us and through us—the God who surprises people with grace.
We want you to be—in us and through us—the God who welcomes the stranger with words of hope and peace.
We want you to be the God who comes to us as one of us, tiny and squalling, poor and needy. The one who cries tears of compassion over our lostness. The one who heals our diseases and feeds our souls. The one who lives a fully human life and dies a fully human death, who is resurrected by the power of Divine Spirit, and who will come again to bring justice and mercy where justice and mercy are due.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!