Monday, December 17, 2012

The Downside of Advent - Mark Barrentine

Note: This reflection by Mark was written before the events last week in Connecticut and should not be taken as a response.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence...” Matthew 11:12

Just the other day, I was reflecting on one of the Advent readings from 2 Thessalonians about the “Man of Lawlessness” being revealed before the return of Jesus and considering the implications. I realized- to quote Dark Helmet from Space Balls, “See there’s two sides to every Schwartz.”- that the coming of Jesus isn’t all “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Silent Night.” Jesus coming, as a baby in a manger or a triumphant king, is accompanied by some pretty dangerous stuff.

After the Magi came to honor the new born King of the Jews, King Herod had all the baby boys in Bethlehem and it’s vicinity that were 2 years old and younger killed. Herod’s order and the death of untold number of children were pointless, as Jesus had already escaped, but that only adds to the senseless mess and suffering. I wonder how comforting it would have been, if anyone had even been clued in at the time, for a grieving parent to be told “Your son died so that the Messiah could escape to Egypt.” Of course those that believed would have been relieved to a certain degree, but the secular society would have been, “... very put out.” To quote Prince Humperdinck from Princess bride.

And what does the generation of believers that is alive when the Anti-Christ is revealed have to look forward to? We have statements like Revelation 13:10, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of Gods people.” Matthew 24:22 says, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” To quote Daffy Duck as Robin Hood, “Yikes and away!”

Jesus Christ, the One and Only begotten Son of God, entering into the space-time continuum is a serious affair. We can lose some of that edge, even those of us who believe, when we get distracted by lights, carols, and “... but wait, there’s more!” consumerism. Advent is the time to remember that being a Christian is dangerous at worst, deadly at best and with Jesus Christ in us, our “hope of glory” Like Simba from The Lion King, we can “Laugh in the face of danger. Hahhhahahahh!”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Longing - Beth Morgan

As a child struggles to sleep on the eve of Christmas
While oppressed Israel lives for the Messiah's birth

As a family rounds the finish line of the third trimester
While a couple hopes to just make it past the first

As a groom looks for his bride to walk the aisle toward him
While a woman still dreams of ever one day being a bride

A world waits with expectant hope
While a world clings to promises, longing.