Advent is a time of questions answered. We’re not talking about what we’re getting or giving for Christmas. But a time of deeper questions being addressed-the reasons and mechanics of God’s plan of ushering the coming Christ into our dark world. Tonight’s Scripture passage is from Luke 1 where we see this in action.
First, we have Zecharias, the high priest and his wife, Elisabeth who were up there in years without a kid. While offering up incense at the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to Zecharias; informing him that he and Elisabeth will have a son who would be the future John the Baptist-a prophet in the spirit of Elijah-who will prepare people for God. Second we have Mary, Jesus’s future Mom. While at home, the angel Gabriel paid her a visit and informed about her becoming the mother of the Christ. This will be the Son of God who will sit on the throne of his ancestor King David and reign forever.
Now we know of the questions Zecharias and Mary asked about seemingly impossible events that will contribute to a plan bigger than them; I won’t go into that since we can read it in the above Scripture. However, I think they had unasked questions about the future as well. You see, it’s been centuries since the last prophet, Malachi preached in the land (around 445-432 BCE). It was during those years God ain’t said “Boo” to Israel. In the interim, Aramaic and Greek became the main languages. New sects like the Essenes, Zealots, Pharisees, and Sadducees came into existence. Thanks to Rome turning Judea into a province of the Empire (and puppet governor), various people with their customs were being introduced to the land. The very face of Israel (now called Judea) was being changed.
Now, Zecharias and Mary will have sons that will grow up into men that will again change the face of Israel-according to the angelic news. I think I’d have a book of questions for the angels myself if I lived back then. However, the angels’ messages provided an answer about the future: hope. You see, God did not give up on Israel despite the five-century silent treatment. God was going to redeem His/Her people and will rule them forever. However again, the current thought was that God would re-establish a theocracy/political kingdom like David and Solomon had. However, we would later find out it would be spiritual kingdom ruled from Heaven.
“All well and nice, Vic,” you may say, “However, how does this play out for us today? We read the Scriptures and heard the sermons, but what about us today?” If we see what’s happening in 2016 CE, we would have doubts about any future. Despite what some Fundagelicals may say, God has not given up on us. Just the fact that homo sapiens is still rockin’ ought to tell us something. God is still reaching out to us through His/Her Spirit which abides in the hearts of His/Her people. God is still wooing us to the Divine life of love, peace, joy, and communion for all. Also, God is still in charge-despite what others may say. God’s Kingdom-which is alive in our world today-will endure even as human kingdoms rise and fall (i.e.: aforementioned Roman Empire). God’s realm and reach will embrace us all: regardless of race, religion, gender preference, etc.
I hope I helped us to see that questions are answered at Advent-questions about our place in God’s plans and about our future. God provided an answer at Advent-the answer of hope-right here and now. As we await the coming Christ, we can be sure that hope is coming as well.
(Image: “All your needs met here”. Plainfield, NJ. Image by Me)