Our word for this seventh day of Advent is "surprise." To be honest, the word came to me after we checked into a motel on the last leg of a trip. The motel, part of a large chain, was one which in the past had not measured up to my expectations. This time it was the closest to where we needed to stay and so we checked in. To my surprise it was the nicest one of this chain I had seen. It was a surprise that made me glad.
The word, surprise, kept rolling around in my mind and I realized that it was a word that described a part of the Advent. What a surprise!!
Quoting the prophet Micah, Matthew says this:
Matthew 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
The coming of Christ in the form of a baby was a surprise in many ways. It was a surprise that made some glad, some mad, some glad, and some feel as though they had been "had."
To the shepherds it was a surprise that made them glad. The job of a shepherd was not considered to be the most sought after employment. Often they were on the "lower rung" of the culture of their day. But for heaven make it's first announcement of the birth of the Messiah to these lowly shepherds made them glad indeed.
For King Herod to hear of the birth of a new King of the Jews made him mad. He felt threatened by this revelation.
After he failed to locate this new king he sent soldiers into the small village of Bethlehem to kill all boy babys two years old and under. He was hoping to get rid of this perceived threat to his rule. This was a surprise that made the families of Bethlehem very sad.
To the religious leaders of the Jews it made them feel as though they had been had. They reasoned that this was a hoax. Certainly the promised Messiah would arrive in a more dignified way than being born in a stable. And surly they would have been the first to be notified.
Christmas always brings with it a range of emotions. Maybe you have felt these same emotions, but for different reasons. It is not a time to be angry, or sad, or a to have feeling of being mistreated or misused. It is a time to rejoice and be glad. The one way to assure the proper emotion is to focus on the "real reason for the season." The hope for now and eternity for the whole world has come to us. And we are the recipients of God's greatest gift.
CHRIST HAS COME TO MAKE US GLAD