1. Advent: God sets in motion
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was around them in brilliant light. The men were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
The Gospel acc. to Luke: 2:8-11
Two weeks ago, on the so-called Memorial Day, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the German Parliament, the Bundestag. On Memorial Day, we remember here in Germany the victims of two world wars, the victims of violence and tyranny of all nations. The media reported that it was a memorable, moving speech. He received a lot of applause!
Macron had a haunting message for the future: In order to meet the many challenges of our time, Europe must "open a new chapter".
God opened a new chapter in human history long ago. Almost 2000 years ago. At that time he sent a messenger, an angel, with a moving message for the future to his people: The long-awaited Savior is born! Rejoice!
God wanted to open a new chapter in human history. People couldn´t cope with the challenges at their time. They were not able to live in peace, they forced each other into political and religious systems. Humanity and respect for God fell by the wayside. Already 2000 years ago. Has anything changed?
God had a plan before. Long before the Savior's birth, he had told through his prophet: a young shoot sprouts from the royal house of David. (Isaiah 11: 1f).
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.
God´s messenger announces to the shepherds in the field: This new chapter has been opened. Now the Messiah is here. Jesus has been born. In the city of David, in Bethlehem.
But God does it differently from what was expected. The angel does not visit the Religious Leader in Jerusalem. Furthermore, he does not talk to the incumbent Head of State. No, God does not make an inaugural visit to dignitaries and the powerful in politics and business. He just goes to ordinary people who are working on their night shift. Shepherds. He visits them at work. People who do not have an easy job. To protect their herds at night and guard the cattle against thieves and other predators. Perhaps tired and with rings under their eyes. With the smell of sweat and sheep dung.
God shows His glory to these people. They are the first to hear the good news of the birth of the Messiah.
This is how God works: He starts from "below". He does not have his son to be born in a pale blue four poster bed, instead in a dirty manger, on straw. God is not afraid to get his fingers dirty. He admits his Messiah to cope with what was commonplace for ordinary people at this time.
God wants to open a new chapter in the life of everybody. He starts at the ground, works on the foundation. He redefines this through his son Jesus. Advent means: The spirit of Jesus wants to come to us. The Spirit of Wisdom and Insight, Mind, Power and Respect for God, our Father in Heaven. This is not a long term vision. This becomes reality for the one who lets himself be moved by God.
Advent means opening a new chapter in life with God. Let one´s heart be put in motion. Give life a new solid foundation. Wherever this happens, joy fills the heart and the mouth.
I wish you a blessed week in Advent!
If you want to pray, and you are lacking words: Here is a prayer which I have prepared for you.
God, I thank you for making your word come true!
Wherever you are received, a human heart begins to move.
Thank you Lord, that you want to open a new chapter in my life.
Fill my heart with your peace and the great joy which the angel has promised.