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Advent - A Baby
To return to my Advent themes - “Who are we waiting for?” and “How should we wait?” The promises of Isaiah that we have been looking at seemed long in the future but now they come very close: “And now you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will name him Jesus.” We are waiting for “The son of the most high” who will be given the throne of his ancestor David and who will reign forever. Yet this the Messiah, for whom Israel has been waiting and clearly identified as such by the angel Gabriel will come as a baby.
We know about babies, we know what to do with them - we love them, we swaddle them, we nurture them, we learn from them (who among us has not learnt from our children?), we warm to them instinctively and immediately. Be quite sure also that babies are the centre of attention - do not ever think that with a baby in the room you can be the star of the show: A baby commands our time our energy emotion and devotion.
During Advent the ten to eight group have been studying the prophet Zechariah who imagines God coming into the world with apocalyptic preamble - a great battle between the opposing forces of good and evil, a fierce description of fighting that makes “The Lord of the Rings” seem tame by comparison - A God who comes and places his feet on the mountains and simply towers over the earth (Zechariah is not alone , others prophesy in the same way) but here in Luke’s Gospel at the beginning of the New Testament, the Angel Gabriel tells us that God, Jesus, will come as a baby and how better, for we are waiting for God who we can relate to and who will relate to us.
How shall we wait then for Jesus? Something changes at this annunciation indeed at any annunciation - for trying for a baby is one thing it seems a far off probability (a bit like Isaiah maybe) but once there is confirmation that in a short time there will really be a baby the whole quality of our waiting changes. Now by definition I don’t really know how a woman waits for a baby but my observation is that they wait with their whole selves - your bodies minds thinking even appetites all change. This waiting is all consuming - parents put everything into it mentally, physically, emotionally. And not only parents - a year or two ago I visited Georgina and on her workbasket was a splendid piece of cross stitch that she was engaged in. It looked like a perfect sampler to be framed and hung somewhere prominent but no when I asked it turned out to be a cover for an expected grand daughter’s crib which she was carefully and lovingly creating and even I took extra care over granddaughter’s booties trying not to muddle the knits and purls.
So we shall wait expectantly, preparing with love and care as best we can, seeking to bring God’s justice to our world, proclaiming the good news, for a God who is gentle who takes the lambs to his bosom, who will restore the broken hearted and free the oppressed and who above all we will recognise and who will relate to us perfectly - as perfectly as a tiny baby.