The stage is set
Can you hear it?
2000 years ago a people were crying out for freedom. Freedom from their oppressors, freedom from exploitation by their own religious parties. They were desperate. They knew the prophesies; they knew that one day a Savior would come to them to deliver them. But when? How long would they suffer? The rich got richer, the poor got poorer and the outcasts had no hope at all. Where is the Messiah? When will he come? They went up to the temple, they offered sacrifices, they prayed. And still no deliverer came. Herod desecrated their temple. Surely God would see and come to deliver them. And still they waited. Mass slaughter of all baby boys born around a certain time. And through their tears the people cried out for their Messiah, cried out for salvation. From the outcast lepers outside the city gates, to the scorned tax collectors shunned for being collaborators, each heart was crying out, every heart was waiting.
Can you hear it?
A people crying out for freedom. People crying out from captivity to corrupt governments, children ravaged by the scars of conflict, children standing on stick-thin legs, one day away from starvation. Where is their Savior? A mother grieves as she folds and packs away the baby clothes that will never be worn. A family lives in their car, forced onto the streets because the factory shut down. A frightened teen wraps herself in blankets in an abandoned building, afraid of being alone, afraid to go home to the hurt that fills the walls with her cries. Longing, waiting for someone to come save them. Close your ears to the sound of the Christmas music pounding through the speakers in the mall. Let time slow and look into the faces of the ones who pass by. Despair, hopelessness, emptiness, bitterness, exhaustion. Hidden behind the careful masks, the colorful packages, look closely. When will someone come, someone who will hear their silent cries in the night, someone who will lift the burden of guilt, someone who will fill the loneliness?
2000 years ago. Today. The people wait for hope, wait for a Savior.
10 Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.
11 The Lord has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
“Say to the Daughter of Zion,
‘See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.’ ”
12 They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the Lord;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.
(Isaiah 62: 10-12 NIV)