About the Author:

Bernard Tam
Bernard is a coffee enthusiast, neighbourhood connector and one of the pastors at The Living Room Church in Midtown, Toronto. Regularly you can find Bernard at local specialty coffee shops learning to be present in the neighbourhood while enjoying every sip of local roasted coffee. He is also one of the cohost of the Canadian Asian Missional Podcast - a conversation that engages with the movements of the Canadian Asian Church.
By |2018-12-23T23:38:51+00:00December 24th, 2018|Advent Reader, Blog|Comments Off on Advent – Christmas Eve

Scripture reading for today:

Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20

Uneventful Christmas Eve

The first Christmas Eve must have been quite uneventful. Although for generations the Israelites had been waiting on the arrival of The Messiah, we recognize that on the first Christmas Jesus was born silently in Nazareth. On that very first Christmas, while the hustle and the bustling were happening because of the census, Jesus was born in the manger silently, quietly and unbeknownst to anyone important. But, there at the makeshift neonatal unit were the first visitors, the shepherds. The least, the most unwanted and the non-important bunch of people were the first to visit Jesus at His birth. And the rest of the world, the kings and queens, the governors and the elites had missed this monumental moment in history; the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.

The least, the most unwanted and the non-important bunch of people were the first to visit Jesus at His birth. And the rest of the world missed this monumental moment in history Click To Tweet

Isaiah writes about this first advent; the incarnation in Christ Jesus who broke through the schism of heaven and earth and arrived as a babe;

for to us a child is born, to us a son is given.

He who is God broke through onto the earth and became a helpless babe. Isaiah further describes this messiah to be

wonderful counsellor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.

These four descriptions depict Jesus and prophesy whom Jesus will be.

Wonderful counsellor: Wise counsel is always sought after. All throughout the Older Testament, we see that every King and major person seeking wise counsel. Jesus is the wonderful counsellor to whom the very Spirit of God moves and breadths in Him. Even the Pharisees and the teachers of the law could not comprehend how Jesus was able to teach with such wisdom and rigour because He was a son of a carpenter and not a student of the law. Yet when Jesus speaks the Spirit moves. He is the long-awaited wonderful counsellor.

Mighty God: Jesus, the Divine who breaks into humanity as a vulnerable babe. As Paul writes in Philippians, He who is God Himself who gave it up to become human and enter into our neighbourhood (to use Eugene Peterson language). How can one fathom God Himself moving in and being a part of our neighbourhood? And yet on this first Christmas Eve Jesus came for the first time as a baby. God, Himself was crying like a baby. The might of God is not by coercive powers, but by His posture. The beautiful posture of relinquishing power by entering into this world with a vulnerable state. For this is Jesus, who is the Mighty God, who came as a vulnerable baby onto this world.

Everlasting Father: Perhaps the most beautiful hope of Christmas is the hope of the everlasting in Christ Jesus. Not only did he defeat sin and death, but He has brought everlasting life onto those who acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour. This is the everlasting Father whose hope is to see His son elevated up on high and seated at His right hand. The second advent of Jesus upon His return will be the culmination of His Kingdom. The pathway to experience and be a part of the Everlasting Kingdom.

Prince of Peace: Every war-torn reality brings about the hope for peace. And yet none can provide peace with power and coercion. Jesus, however, was prophesied to be the prince of peace. This peace is not of absolute harmony and tranquillity (at least not in the present times) but of absolute faith. The kind of peace in faith that transcends situations and circumstances. It is the faith, not in the resolution of situations, but on the confidence on the person of Jesus. Jesus is our peace in the world; healing and reconciling the whole of creation.

On the first Christmas when Jesus was born, many have missed out on this monumental moment. Perhaps in our culture today this also happens because of the rush and the hecticness; not of a census but of shopping, of parties, of cleaning, cooking and the hustle and bustle of Christmas. But on this Christmas eve, pause and take a moment to consider this monumental moment when Jesus enters into human history in a specific space. Quiet yourself, and pause to hear and enter into this beautiful narrative of the arrival of Jesus.

Let us not miss out on the hope in Christ Jesus.

Let’s conclude with these words from the prophetic words of U2:

I believe in the Kingdom come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one
But yes, I’m still running

You broke the bonds
and you loosened chains
carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

Thank you for reading the New Leaf Advent Reader, a collection of reflections from writers across Canada. If you missed earlier reflections, take a look at the whole collection: newleafnetwork.ca/advent-reader

photo credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia