It has become cliché to point out the contradiction that a celebration of the birth of Jesus—who lived and dwelled among the poor and broken things of this earth—should inspire a frenzy of materialism. When we celebrate the transcendent moment when God came to earth by purchasing unnecessary things for people who already have too much, it will probably not lead us to a deeper joy in or a greater understanding of the incarnation. Giving gifts to people we love (or sharing what we have with those in need) as a remembrance of the gift that God gave us is a good thing. But the excess of the season can get in the way of the blessings to be found in quiet contemplation and celebration of the birth of Christ our Lord.
The Kingdom of God came to earth that starry night in Bethlehem to the sound of angels singing, but the life of Jesus disappointed many who had waited for and wanted a Messiah who would bring political power and might. Instead, Jesus spent his time with sinners, annoyed the religious elite, healed the sick, and preached the good news of the Gospel to the poor. John the Baptist, clearly confused and disappointed, sent the disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one we have been waiting for? Are you really the Messiah?” From John’s prison cell, it didn’t look like the Kingdom had come.
“Tell John what you have seen and heard…” Jesus said (quoting Isaiah), “…that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
He is King of glory, He is the Lord of mercy, and we are his image bearers! Today, God’s people are extending the Kingdom in Romania by sharing the good news of the Gospel with the poor and oppressed, loving the widow and the orphan, and welcoming the stranger at the gate. You can find God there, dwelling in the broken lives now rescued, restored and redeemed.