Come, Long Expected Jesus
We took two weeks off from SBS for Christmas break. They were a precious time of reflection and rest, allowing what I learned to really soak in. I had amazing conversations at being home, finding kindred Bible nerds and bouncing different interpretations off of each other, reaching new depths.
I also found this Christmas season to be strange.
Because I am doing a chronological school, I have been journeying with the Israelites from Abraham to the exodus, the conquest to the kings. I feel like I’m right in their narrative, struggling to follow Yahweh when the surrounding pagan nations are so tempting. My class just finished the wisdom literature and getting started in the prophets, the books that lead up the Messiah and really dive into God’s promise to His people of a saviour to come. So for me this Christmas, there was this sense of: “Hold up. Jesus hasn’t come quite yet.”
On the other hand, even before reaching the prophetic books, there is an obvious need for a perfect king, for a saviour. Before SBS, I had hardly touched the Old Testament, so my understanding of all the references to the Old Testament in Christmas hymns were somewhat foggy. Now having studied these books, I found myself crying every single time I sang a Christmas hymn that spoke of the desperation of Israel, their need for a saviour, and the fulfillment that Christ brought to all of God’s promises to Israel. Specifically the lines of “O Holy Night” caught me off guard during our Christmas Eve service:
“Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease.”
So while there was this sense of this Christmas season feeling premature from the perspective of my current place in the Israelite’s journey, there was a greater sense of an eternal need for Jesus. While my studies have brought a greater depth of understanding to mindset of the original people Jesus was coming to, my studies have also increased my understanding for our current world’s need for Jesus. There is still oppression. There are still chains to be broken. There is still love lacking in so many aspects of our lives, our society.
I don’t know why I even bother wearing makeup to church these days. The reality of Jesus to the Israelites, and to us in 2018, hits me so hard every service, and I’m a mess by the time I’m supposed to be socializing afterwards. I’m so looking forward to this coming quarter, where God’s promises of a Messiah will be fully illuminated, and His heart for humanity put on display.
Stay tuned for the things God has in store for our class to learn this quarter!