Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012
Second Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11
Luke 3:1-6

It isn’t easy for those who live in the technological world of today to put ourselves into the world of John the Baptist “…in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar …” A little research will help us understand the history but the greater questions remain: What is God saying to us today and where is he saying it? Our immediate response would not be that he is speaking in the city of Portland, Eugene or Salem. And would we expect him to be appearing in Cottage Grove or Myrtle Creek or Grants Pass? As unlikely as that might seem, remember this is the God who came to the wilderness.

And then to whom would God bring his Word? Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI or a modern saint like Mother Teresa? Certainly, it would have to be someone we all know and revere — wouldn’t it? But then there is John the Baptist. From the Biblical description, he seems to us the sort of character that we would not want to meet on a dark street. His prophesying might remind us just a little of those who stand in Pioneer Square proclaiming that the end of the world is near.

Still, unlike the people of John’s time, we have some experience of when, where, and to whom God reveals himself — all the time, everywhere, and to everyone. How can that be? The answer is that God is with us, present in our midst, showing himself every day, sometimes in unexpected places and to unlikely people.

The story of Jesus’ incarnation begins with a birth — not in a palace but in a humble stable. Christ comes as a child…and a child with no wealthy relatives, no political connections. The love of God is so magnanimous that he gave his only Son not only to die for us but also to live with us. Today we meet a God who is so concerned about his creation that he sends his Son as a child whom we cannot fear. He sends a child to grow in wisdom, and age and grace and to show us how to do the same. Jesus’ life is a gift in the strictest meaning of the word.

But this is not the gift that we expected. Like the people of old, we looked in vain for something else…a once-and-for-all response to our need for redemption. Instead, we have been given the gift that “keeps on giving.”

As we remember the historical coming of Jesus, we join with the Baptist to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”