We always look for the spectacular. We always look for the bombastic attention grabbing events and headlines. In today’s saturated digital world, it gets harder and harder to do something that actually gets attention, so the action has to be BIGGER AND BIGGER.
Headlines these days will center on TERRORISM or IMMIGRATION or POLICE BRUTALITY or something that will somehow grab the attention of people.
Even for the American Church, we have the tendency to do the “splashy” to try and get people’s attention.
Advent reminds us God just doesn’t operate that way. Advent should remind us that the Kingdom of God will not come in the way you think it should come.
One of my favorite devotionals from years ago was by Chuck Swindoll and it sums it up:
The year was 1809. The international scene was tumultuous. Napoleon was sweeping through Austria; blood was flowing freely. Nobody then cared about babies. But the world was overlooking some terribly significant births.
For example, William Gladstone was born that year. He was destined to become one of England’s finest statesmen. That same year, Alfred Tennyson was born to an obscure minister and his wife. The child would one day greatly affect the literary world in a marked manner.
On the American continent, Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And not far away in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe began his eventful, albeit tragic, life.
It was also in that same year that a physician named Darwin and his wife named their child Charles Robert. And that same year produced the cries of a newborn infant in a rugged log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. The baby’s name? Abraham Lincoln.
If there had been news broadcasts at that time, I’m certain these words would have been heard: “The destiny of the world is being shaped on an Austrian battlefield today.” But history was actually being shaped in the cradles of England and America.
Similarly, everyone thought taxation was the big news – when Jesus was born. But a young Jewish woman cradled the biggest news of all: the birth of the Savior.
The world overlooks the small corners of the world, but it is in those small corners that the Kingdom will often show up. In Jesus’s day, it was the news of the mighty Roman Empire. In 1809, it was the news of Napoleon. Today, it is ISIS, it is terrorism, it is Putin… And we need to be reminded that what dominates us (or wants to dominate us) in fear today will be gone. ISIS will be gone. Putin will be gone. But the Kingdom? What we do for the Kingdom today will LAST.
Advent. Christ has come. Don’t overlook him.