A Foolish Plan

44995_1718589397578_563795366_n
By Brother-in-law Mark Hart

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1 Corinthians 1:27 KJV

We didn’t “do” Advent growing up. It was an alien concept—suspiciously Catholic. Definitely not Southern Baptist. And yet even as a child, I felt a sense of preparation when December came around. It wasn’t just the presents or the tree or the lights; it was Jesus.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t conversing with Him regularly. What can a seven-year-old girl really know or grasp about Jesus? I don’t know. I certainly didn’t grasp the theology of incarnation, and I had no understanding of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. Even the concept of the Trinity was just an accepted truth. I didn’t question it. It just was. And Jesus just was. And the Nativity just was. Truth.

I was a rather…odd child. I don’t mean “odd” in a negative sense; I like that I was a bit romantic and dreamy. I lived in my head much of the time, more likely to identify with characters in books than actual people. I’m sure that contributed to my ability to accept Jesus as real and living in my heart. No cynicism or painful realities to wrestle with ever clouded my imagination. Instead I fully embraced Jesus and the Nativity.

Typically on Christmas Eve, my family and I would head to Pryor, Oklahoma and “The Farm” where my Grandpa Homer and Grandma Helen lived. One Christmas Eve as we drove through the night, I imagined all the homes we passed and all of the people living in those homes, and I realized that their lives were just as important to them as mine was to me. I also realized that somehow God knew what was going on under each roof, in each heart. I had a childlike epiphany. God let me peer through His eyes for a moment. My elementary-school brain couldn’t grasp it, but I knew it was true. It just was.

My young heart was preparing for Messiah.

Later on Christmas Eve night after we had returned from Pryor and were all fidgety with the excitement and anticipation of opening presents the next morning, one memory pops out. I remember the window in my bedroom and the dark sky. I willed a star to shine brighter than the others—and in my imagination, it did. I imagined Mary on a donkey riding into Bethlehem with Joseph at her side. I imagined her tired and sleepy. And having no concept of labor or the realities of delivering a child in a less than sterile environment, I also imagined her laying on a soft bed of clean hay on a blue cloak, falling asleep, and then waking up with a baby: Jesus! Just like that! And the shepherds saw angels and the angels sang gloriously underneath a shimmering star.

Even though I had never heard of the word “advent,” my soft Jesus heart was preparing me for the celebration of His birth.

Fifty years later I imagine a blue earth spinning and God embracing the galaxy and in love sending His Son who’d been with Him from the beginning in order to declare salvation in the form of a baby. Human. Divine. Sacrificial.

It’s foolishness—a fiction! It doesn’t make sense! We live in a world where we set ourselves up as gods able to better interpret the universe than the Creator, able to understand fairness and justice better than a righteous Judge, able to decipher subtleties of scientific discourse better than the eternal, omniscient I Am, able to determine truth better than the Word, able to see more clearly than the Light of the World.

However, God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Advent—adventus—come. Oh come, Lord Jesus. Come into this brokenness. Come into this sickness and decay. Come into this war-torn world. Come into the poor, struggling heart longing to find peace.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:4-5

O Come, O Come Emmanuel