This morning in the choir room our director was trying to figure out where we would all sit in the choir loft. He commented on the fact that some of us have our favorite seats and we had dented the cushion to suit ourselves. We all chuckled. Then Pastor Chip came in to pray with us. His prayer included the phrase, "God you dented the world with Christmas." I love the notion that God puts a dent in our comfortable places and makes us just a little uneasy. During Advent we often hear the words of the prophet Isaiah. Handel used Isaiah's words to bring his glorious "Messiah" to life.
Isaiah 8:14 says - He will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured.
I am not a theologian, but I think Isaiah is predicting how Jesus will be a scandal when he comes. He will challenge us to a better way of living. He will get people out of their easy chairs and face a new life in Him. Recently I have forced myself to read some of the Old Testament through a daily devotional. Boy, those folks were messed up. How they needed a new way of life and a new attitude.
I have always thought that even if you are not a Christian you can see that Jesus's way is THE way to live: Love, forgive, turn the other cheek, be at peace. Many other religions revere Jesus as a man that showed us how to live on this earth together. That's what Advent is about. We await the newness and the better way that we all need so desperately. As Christians we believe Jesus is the way.
Michael Card is a Christian composer and recording artist that almost exclusively uses scripture for his songs. He has a song called "Scandalon" that I have always loved the words to:
He will be the truth that will defend them one and all
A stone that makes men stumble and a rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that he can make them whole
Many will be crushed and lose their own soul.
It seems today the scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present could be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago?
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble?
This Advent let Jesus put a dent in your world. Stumble into Christmas. Believe.