He was born into a culture that was being oppressed by the Roman Empire; a time when peace and compassion seemed very far away. Jewish faith was being tested daily, and yet it was also ripe for change and inspiration. We are living in one of those ambiguous and confusing periods as well. I wonder if remembering the birth of Jesus can cause us to take courage in the face of impossible circumstances and troubling times. Maybe it can create a wider perspective in our living and believing, so we too might find hope about the future.
I’m not sure it is very easy for our hope to stay strong alone. It seems that we need a loving and engaged community, where we are known and loved by others, in order for hope to take root, blossom, and endure. Advent is one of the special times in the liturgical year when we concentrate on our reasons and motives for trusting in possibilities and potential.
We are getting ourselves ready to remember a very small and obscure event, which seemed unimportant and insignificant at the time, but later would become an inspiration to all people who felt passed over and forgotten. This obscure insignificant birth, humble and unimpressive, would eventually become a hopeful beacon for a divided and disconnected world. The world needed another image besides power, control, and dominance over others. I hope the coming celebration of this birth event in a manger will be as inspirational for us as it was for those earliest followers of the way of peace.