Dear Church Family and Friends,
Blessings to you during this Advent season, as we once again remember and reflect on the long wait in darkness that preceded the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, and the coming of the light that is hope.
Not surprisingly (we are, after all, talking about the Bible, here), getting a handle on how long that wait was is not as simple as we might have hoped. When did it start, and who started it? If digging through piles of text-books isn’t your thing, and reading the entire Old Testament seems like a bit of overkill just to find out one thing—particularly if you’re not sure you’d spot it tucked in amidst all the other stuff going on—we can always turn to the most celebrated Biblical scholar we know, the font of all knowledge worth knowing and a lot that isn’t: Dr. Google.
Submitting that question yields answers rather quickly. Eighteen million answers, in fact, cobbled together in just under one second. Yay, Internet! But then…
The first reference to a Messiah in the Old Testament comes in 1 Samuel.
The first time…is in the Book of Leviticus, in chapter 4
Daniel, in chapter 9
Definitively, it was Isaiah 7:14
Or maybe Isaiah 9:6
Absolutely Micah 5:2
But possibly Genesis 16:7…
Although, to be fair, Genesis 16:7 is regarded to be a cameo, an appearance of Jesus before he wore the Messiah hat, so where to put that one is of somewhat of a question. But you get the point: where you find the promise of the Messiah is more than a little subjective in the Old Testament.
To people whose culture has been shaped by the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, Mr. Wizard, and any number of teachers who seemed to believe that the footnote was the cornerstone of civilization, this can be frustrating.
But maybe it shouldn’t be.
Maybe it’s the perfect reminder that our Redeemer, himself, can be found in many places, some of which you would least expect: in the eyes of a homeless person who’s lost all hope, the face of a hungry child, the plight of a person imprisoned unjustly…even in the haunted face of a man looking down from the cross, or the hopeful face of a newborn baby, looking up from a manger.
So be watchful as we march toward Christmas, because you never know where you might encounter Jesus, and have a chance to be the light that he intended in this world.
But there’s always the chance you might encounter him on Christmas Eve at Salem, 7:00 pm, or Christmas Day at Pleasant Prairie 8:15, or Wesley Chapel at 10:30. Just sayin’.
Merry Christmas, and may the blessings of the season be with you and your family now and through the year.