“It’s go time!”
We got to say those words when our second (and final?) kiddo was born because she decided to come one week early. I remember how exciting it was. Rachael and I were glad that Rosie wanted to come early, since we scheduled our firstborn’s arrival (if she didn’t see fit to say “hello world” before that). We absolutely loved trying to figure out if it was actual go time, since it was the middle of the night and we didn’t want to go to the hospital more than once. The whole process was exciting and super cliché, like straight out of a movie–so fun!
The way Mary and Joseph experienced looking forward to childbirth was radically different than most of ours. On top of the dangers ancient women faced in childbirth, Mary and Joe had several days to journey in order to tell the Empire which specific place they called their hometown. Perfect timing, huh? Nine months preggo, but you better jump when the Romans say so! [Oh, don’t forget about the possibility of encountering bandits along the way. They were probably more common than that WHAM Christmas song on the radi–ok, now I’m getting carried away.] My guess is that the Advent couple would have had fewer feelings of excitement for Jesus’ arrival than being overwhelmed with anxiety.
There are so many aspects to Advent that we forget. Isaiah 2:1-3 is a famous passage of Scripture that talks about the Messiah’s arrival. It refers to the nations going up to the mountain of the LORD (Zion, aka Jerusalem) to worship and practice being at peace with one another.
“In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
Climbing the mountain of the LORD would have been the last thing Mary would have wanted to do. But in Advent, we celebrate that Mary and Joseph went through those difficulties so that the world could climb the mountain together.
I’m ready for that kind of trek.
This one aspect of the heart of Advent that we forget about: a baby uniting nations that used to be at odds with one another. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you don’t think that way around Christmastime. Mary and Joseph weren’t thinking about Isaiah 2 at the time Jesus came knocking, either.
Rethink Church is doing another photo-a-day challenge, just like Lent 2013. I’m (tentatively) jumping in with a post for each day, too. I bolded the word “go” because it’s the word of the day. Subsequent words will get the same treatment down the road.
So…care to travel along this Advent season with me? Let’s go!