(And Mary said,) “Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.”
[Luke 1:49b-52 CEB]
Love is the theme for this coming Sunday, the second Sunday of Advent. In the upcoming Sunday services, we will light the first Advent candle, representing Hope, along with the second Advent candle, representing Love.
If you are a frequent texter on your smart phone, you are fully aware that you must become knowledgeable with certain acronyms. These are abbreviations that cut down on the number of characters you need to type. I must admit that I am an anomaly when it comes to texting. I like to type out full words as well as complete sentences, with periods and commas in their proper places. But it is essential that you know some of these common acronyms when trying to read texts from others. I had a few embarrassing moments before I found out that LOL means “laugh out loud” and not “lots of love.”
One acronym that I receive frequently is OMW. When you are texting someone and you are asking them when they plan to arrive, you get OMW, “on my way.” The answer is rather vague, I would prefer an exact time. But I feel it is intentionally vague. The person responding probably hasn’t left the house yet. Or maybe hasn’t even gotten out of bed yet, but are OMW.
For centuries the Hebrew people had been waiting for a Messiah. When will he arrive? How soon will he appear? But they kept getting the answer OMW. Can you imagine the joy and exhilaration that the people of that day felt when they heard that the long-awaited Messiah is no longer OMW but is here?
The people of that day had been living lives of darkness and despair. Oppressive rulers, where violence ruled the day, and disease, hunger, and calamities were commonplace. They needed a savior, a deliverer from the mess they were in. And then the whispers began, which turned into shouts of joy—today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
We can ask the same question today, when will we be delivered from the mess that we are in? When will things change? The message of Christmas is that deliverance and change will not come from politicians or institutions or nations. It will come from a different ruler of a different kingdom. Jesus the Christ, who rules by mercy and grace. One who will pull the powerful down and lift the lowly. One who is already turning the world upside down through the power of his unconditional and compelling love. During Advent we are reminded of this, and we celebrate his arrival with joy.