Thursday, First Week of Advent
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
His authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onwards and for evermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
– Isaiah 9:6-7
If you have ever held an infant you know that they are essentially helpless. They can’t go anywhere or do anything of their own accord – they can’t even hold up their own head. They cry to indicate what they need, but unless you spend enough time with them you can’t distinguish between cries of hunger, discomfort, and fear. It’s a daunting task, but a rewarding one. Talk to any new parent and you will see a mixture of overwhelming exhaustion and pure joy on his or her face. Does it surprise you yet that the first time we see our savior He is in infant form?
We all want a God that gives us all the answers; that protects us from harm; that defeats our enemies. But at Christmas, “God comes to us as a child so that we can finally grow up” (William Sloane Coffin). Jesus is handed to us, small and helpless, with the sentiment “here, you take care of him.” Suddenly, we must assume responsibility. God is among us during this holiday season and forever afterwards. What an awesome testament of faith that God trusts mankind with this son, trusts you and me.
Charged with the ruler of the world, what do we do? We do what any self-respecting parent does: try to create a nurturing environment in which the child can thrive. In what environment does the Son of God thrive? Jesus thrives when mankind believes in Him and His power – the power of love. Jesus was not given a fancy bassinet or decorative mobile; he was laid in a manger with cloth. Mary and Joseph gave the infant Jesus all they could, just as we are called to do. We have all that we need to foster an environment worthy of Jesus. We all have hearts to feel, ears to hear, and hands to hold. We are all capable of love.
Fourteen-year-old Mary overcame her fear and took on God’s challenge, and I encourage you to do the same. Hold onto Jesus tightly and introduce him to a world you are proud of, a world where love is felt and taught by example. This Advent season, let us declare, like Manoah did so many years ago: “O Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born” (Judges 13:8).
– Carrie Cabush ‘15