The sweet little girl looked at her mother and said, “Mommy does God live in Kentucky?”
This was the question born of innocence and youth, the inquiry of a child’s wondering mind. The little girl is my granddaughter, and she was speaking to her mother, the first born of my two children.
The child’s mother replied, “Yes dear, God lives in Kentucky, and Ohio, and everywhere.”
“Oh” said the little girl.
“When is Jesus’ birthday?” continued the inquisitive child.
“On Christmas Day,” said the mommy.
“Didn’t the baby Jesus come from Mary…last year?” wondered the little girl.
“Uh huh,” said the mommy, wondering where this line of questioning would eventually lead the conversation.
Oh, out of the mouths of babes come the most wonderful and endearing questions.
Of course, Jesus told his disciples that they should all become like little children should they hope for the kingdom of heaven.
My granddaughter’s questions are quite profound for such a young person of four years old, indeed.
In fact the baby Jesus has been born, grown to adulthood, been convicted unjustly of crimes he did not commit, crucified, died, and resurrected, and ascended to his Father in heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father.
In fact the Messiah is now preparing a home for his faithful children that He might one day return to bring them home to heaven with Him.
I read somewhere once that we are people in-between, people who have their being in the past and the future, but living in-between them. We are people of the middle.
Each year the church calendar begins four Sundays before Christmas Day, this year Advent; the season of four weeks prior to Christmas, began on Dec. 2, and, will continue until Dec. 24 at Christmas Eve. Advent means to wait, to watch, to prepare for, and to expect something or someone to appear, to be present.
The first Advent of our Lord Jesus occurred more than two thousand years ago in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem, which translates from the Hebrew, as house of bread.
Jesus said, “I am, the bread of life…” John 6:35f.
This incarnation, or, breaking into the world to become flesh and blood like you and me was the first Advent or coming of the Christ child to the human family.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whomsoever shall believe on him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
This Advent season more than two thousand years later is where the children of the risen Christ still await his second coming, or second Advent of his coming to be among us and take us to eternal and everlasting life with him.
“In my father’s house there are many rooms… If I go there to prepare a place for you, will I not come again, and, take you to myself, so that where I am, you may be also.” John 14:2-3
In the mean time, until that Second Advent or coming of the Christ, the Messiah, we are people of the middle.
The Book of Revelation calls the Messiah, “The Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, The Almighty.” Rev. 1:8.
What does it mean to be people of the middle? What does it mean to be people of faith who know that the baby Jesus has been born, the son of man, Jesus, has been raised from the dead, and the Almighty Jesus shall return? How are we to be people of the middle? How shall we live knowing that we are people of two worlds simultaneously? Martin Luther used to say that the Christian person is both “saint and sinner” at the same time.
This is a struggle for us in the middle. We are people who await the risen Christ to return, while we celebrate the babe in a manger, and find no problem with that understanding of the Holy Days of Advent and Christmas. We are people of the middle.
To be people of the middle we have the faith that like those men and women of faith who came before us, and those who will come after us, we know that Christ is present among us wherever two or three gather in his name. People of the middle understand that through prayer we have access to the Father in Heaven through the Son, because we have his Holy Spirit among us to advocate for us and to guide us each day.
People of the middle celebrate the Christmas holiday with joy and hope for the Lord Jesus is with us always. People of the middle share the wisdom of the past, the hopefulness of the future and the joy of the present in the Name of the Lord.
Rejoice this Advent season, savor each and every day in the love of Christ Jesus. Remember that the best and first gift of Christmas is the child in the manger.
Advent is a time to pray, to prepare, to anticipate with joy and hope, to believe and to share with others, to experience the fullness of faith, as we await the coming of the Lord. Give this season the gifts of joy and hope, of faith and fellowship, of yourself, as the child in the manger has done and is doing for you.
How do people of the middle live, remember the words of the Prophet Micah 6:8, “He has told you O’ mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.”
Merry Christmas and happy New Year everyone.
God bless you and be with you all this Advent and Christmas season, and all the New Year through.