When we take away the festal racket of the Advent Story, put down our eggnog, set down our sugar cookies, and peel back the pine-scented veneer of one “holy infant so tender and mild,” we are faced with a very different nativity. A nativity without hand soap or a space heater. Medicate with enough gingerbread or peppermint truffles and you may forget the ugly truth altogether. Thousands of years of expectation trudged its way “South along the flatlands of the Jordan River, and then West over the hills surrounding Jerusalem.” After tramping 80 miles a very tired, dirty, and pregnant teenage couple found themselves marginalized from society, delivering their firstborn child in some dimly lit shed. No doctor, no pain medication, no epidural. The night our King entered the world was bloody and tear-filled. Mary’s shrill cries pierced a quiet Bethlehemian night. Welcomed in with tidings of infanticide, the Prince of Peace was the newest member of a refugee family. It was not a silent night. Not in David’s town.
I think it’s a good year for throwing my classic-Claymation-nativity-mindset back on the potter’s wheel of history... a good year for allowing scripture to flavor my advent-routine. If it means taking smaller doses of holiday cheer in order to savor the mystery of Jesus' birth, then I think I’m okay with that. God forbid Santa load me up with a little more coal this year.
This. Is. Advent...
That God gave His Son to become subjected, dejected, and rejected as a human for the sins of humanity. His heart groaned with bittersweet paradox as the Treasure of Heaven met the Tragedy of Earth. It was tenacious and resolute. It was wild and lion-like. It was simple and profound love for humanity that compelled Jesus Christ off His throne and into a manger.
In leaving all the divine laurels of Godhood in Heaven, He managed in one fell swoop to drag His Kingdom to Earth. The manger-lain, cloth-wrapped, carpenter-raised refugee began walking the streets proclaiming, “The Kingdom of God is here!”
As I think of the adversity into which Jesus Christ entered that night, I think of the little boys and girls that have come into the care of Children Of The Nations. They identify with the birth of Christ in a way that most of us will probably never know. Marginalized. Impoverished. Refugees. Targets of genocide. Subjected to every misery of the Fall. But as children adopted out of the wreckage of human depravity how much more can they identify with the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in a way few can fathom! They have experienced the full spectrum of the capacity of the human soul. On the one hand a capacity for the fear and loneliness that comes from belonging to no one, yet on the other a capacity for the most immense joy that comes from belonging both to a family and to God.
Into the depravity of mankind’s darkness God unleashed the Light of Heaven. He released His Son and therein His Kingdom. A Kingdom in which Creation belongs to Creator. A Kingdom in which the misery of the Fall has become subjected to the glory of Jesus Christ.
He spent His life reversing the Curse of sin and the misery of the Fall, and He bids you and I to join Him in entering the brokenness of humanity to declare with joy the liberating fact that “The Kingdom of God has come!” You are an agent of His Kingdom – so enter into humanity’s brokenness, help reverse the mess, and intertwine your life with those who have not yet heard of the proclamation that rang out that night in David’s Town, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy…”
Let me show you what this whole thing looks like…
Rebecca was orphaned as a baby in the country of Malawi. She remembers the day that Children Of The Nations gave her a family. Today she has graduated from High School and is looking towards College. “God has consumed my life,” she said. “And so I hope to transform Malawi. That is what God has given me to do.” The person who filmed this short video recently asked Rebecca to share her favorite Bible Verse… who knew she’d bust out an entire chapter?
If your heart's pounding just a little harder to change someone’s life –
here are a couple fantastic places to start: