Section 3: The Light Dawns
The birth of Jesus is truly full of wonder. The Holy Spirit conceived Jesus, the Son of God in the womb of His mother, Mary (Matthew 1:18). And the confused but righteous Joseph meets with an angel, who interrupts his well intended plans to part ways with his fiance (Matthew 1:19–25). The glory of God is all over this little family.
Is it not also peculiar? For instance, why this couple? It can only be because this had long been how God intended to bring about the true Light into the darkness. The prophet Isaiah spoke of a King, from the line of Israel’s king David, the son of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). This Davidic King would be the Messiah, the one who would fully and finally push back the darkness and renew all things (vv.1–9).
This unsuspecting yet righteous man, Joseph, who would become the earthly father of the Son of God, was in the line of King David. So, here it all converges: God’s ancient plan to bring great light into the world, pushing back the darkness until all things are made new. And into this unknown family comes that great Light. To them a Son is born, and they name him Jesus. The great Davidic King now has a name. He’s here!
The first advent of King Jesus means the end of a world without a Messiah. This world has seen Jesus, the Son of God. He has walked on middle-eastern soil, healed the sick, raised the dead, and purchased the redemption of the world by his life, death, and resurrection. This is our reality. No matter how bleak the darkness is, we do not live in a world without the great light of Jesus the Messiah.
But it is also true that we live in a world with darkness, evil, sin, and death. We are still awaiting the second advent of Jesus, when all of the darkness is vanquished, once and for all. This, too, is our reality: hope and pain, our simultaneous experience.
Advent does not teach us to practice hope by telling fairy tales or by pretending the world isn’t really all that bad. Advent tells us the truth. There is great hope and great pain as we await the return of King Jesus.
There will be days when we are confused or unsure. Days where we will long for the fullness of the reign of King Jesus, when “the land will be as full of the knowledge of the LORD as the sea is filled with water” (v.9). This is the good news at Advent. In Jesus, heaven and earth collide and the future reality we await is brought into the present.
Our vocation, our great commission, is to join Jesus in the renewal of all things as we await His coming kingdom. The birth of Jesus was full of wonder. So, too, is our calling and commission as we await His return.