The Jesus I Need

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

That given the events of the past year, Advent feels just a tiny bit misplaced?

Global pandemic.
Economic instability.
Racial tension.
Unending violence.

The call to quiet myself and once more prepare for the coming of Jesus feels like something better suited for a time of greater peace. What I need right now is to not wait on the Lord but experience the Lord. Like, yesterday.

You know what I mean?

And it’s not exactly the Jesus in a manger whom I really need, if I’m being honest. It’s the Jesus who walks on water and flips over tables and brings the dead back to life who I want rushing onto the scene. And yet, Advent calls me to wait and prepare and keep watch for a Savior who will enter the world in as fragile a state as possible: an infant entrusted to a poor and powerless couple.

Remind me again how this is Good News?

As is most always the case, to understand the story of Jesus we must first understand the story of the Bible. Ages before the birth of Jesus, the Prophet Isaiah told us exactly who this powerless infant would one day become.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6

This is who Jesus will become, Isaiah says. But this is not who Jesus is at the beginning. He begins… as we all do… at the beginning. And even though that’s often not the Jesus we want, I think it might be the Jesus I need.

Because I don’t know about you, but it helps me tremendously to know that Jesus will not only come to have the world rest upon His shoulders but that He is brave enough to allow the world to bear down upon Him. Put another way:

yes, the world is terrifying, but the Good News is that God is not afraid.

How do I know that? Because Jesus could have arrived fully formed as the Mighty God and Prince of Peace. He is God and God can do whatever God wants to do. But God chose to come to us as a vulnerable child, which is just another way of saying He did what none of us would ever do. He let down every defense, ceded all strength, and offered Himself to the entire world.

Why? There are many good answers that could be given, but at least one of them must be that God wanted us to know that even though the world can be terrifying, God is not terrified, and thus we can choose to not be either.

Seen in this light, I am drawn more peacefully into the waiting season of Advent, eager to lean in close and gaze upon this Child who will save the world and trust that even though the story has yet to play itself out, the mere presence of the Baby lets me know that all, in the end, shall be well.

We talk a lot about love in our culture, and it appears to mean many things to many people. There is perhaps no greater example of love, in my opinion, than acts of bravery on behalf of another. The birth of Jesus Christ was a deliberate act of bravery meant to not only save but also inspire.

After all, the shepherds who came to see Jesus were poor people, just like Mary and Joseph. Men who had no hope that anyone in power would ever care about their existence. But as they stood there, gazing at the Child, they understood that God was not far away but near to them. They understood that God was with them, and if God was with them, then there was no place God would or could not be.

My prayer for this Advent is that you and I may also know this truth. That we may be brave enough to face this world with a hopeful patience, trusting that the Child in the manger is exactly who Isaiah told us He would be.

Written for Devotionals Daily by Ryan Casey Waller, author of Depression, Anxiety, and Other Things We Don’t Want to Talk About.

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Your Turn

Maybe Advent felt misplaced even that first Christmas. Maybe it’s meant to feel misplaced. Advent is all about waiting in hope, trusting in Jesus even when our circumstances don’t offer comfort or peace. God is with you here and now. He’s not afraid! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily


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