” A thrill of Hope,
the weary world rejoices!
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!”
For over two thousand years Jesus Christ has been the greatest mystery, the greatest controversy and the greatest love story that the world has ever encountered.
Under the harsh, oppressive weight of the Roman Empire, the tiny infant of a unmarried teenager was born unceremoniously, without family or friends around, in the damp and darkness of a cold cave that housed farm animals and probably smelt a pungent mix of wet hay and cow dung. Yet into this poverty, the sovereign creator and saviour of the world was born.
There was no sanitation or medical care for Mary and her baby. No birth announcement cards sent out. No grandparents came to bring flowers. The city of Bethlehem was full of people on the night of Christ’s birth yet there was no one to welcome his spectacular little life into the world.Being in the hometown of Joseph’s ancestry, I’m sure there were distant or even immediate relatives staying nearby…yet Jesus was rejected, abandoned and disowned because no one could explain or believe the miracle of his virgin birth.
Into an oppressive military dictatorship regime, Jesus was born. He was part of an ostracized and marginalized racial people group. He was born into poverty, lack of medical care, lack of education and lack of equality. His own people disowned him and the only ones to greet him on his birth day were stinky animals and sleepy shepherds, who were equally ostracized.
And yet the universe shifted that day.
HOPE entered the world.
Suddenly there was a breath of hope in the midst of overwhelming despair. A promise had been fulfilled. A pray had been answered. Most of the world was too busy to notice but Mary knew. Her song of praise whispered her heart’s cry of something greater and in it a powerful declaration that Christ’s birth was not only to fulfill the longing of promises made but it break chains of oppression and declare that a new regime had come.
“The Lord has used His powerful arm to scatter those who are proud.
He drags strong rulers from their thrones and put humble people in places of power. “
This new regime would be established on grace, mercy and unconditional love. All would be welcome. There would be a new freedom to enter the world that had never been known before. The weak and vulnerable would be exalted while the oppressive and proud would no longer been allowed to terrorize with impunity.
Injustice would be challenged.
Gender- inequality dismantled.
Blindness, leprosy and other illnesses healed.
Racial lines between Jews and Gentiles erased.
Forgiveness and mercy raised.
Through a helpless and powerless infant, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manager… an Empire would crumble.
When I see that way that God hates injustice and loves to fight for the underdogs,when I see the way that Christ- the sovereign Lord of all creation, who spoke to universe into being- was born as a helpless, powerless infant of a marginalized, impoverished and oppressed family in order to redeem creation and call humanity back to His heart, I fall deeper in love with the one who created my soul.God has absolute power and authority, which should frighten me, yet His truth and tenderness makes me yearn to know Him deeper. I take to heart that declaration:
“[God] lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honour. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and He has set the world in order”
(1 Samuel 2:8).
Truly, if Christ had not come to set the world in order then I cannot comprehend how I would be able to face tomorrow. The thought of living without the hope of Christ is more burden than I can bear. Yet the beautiful mystery is that Christ not only sees something in me worth redeeming but He desperately wants me for His own. He even has the audacity to call me into the work that His spirit is doing to transform and heal the brokenness of the world.