December 8 - What Are We Waiting For?
Reflection by Chase Tibbs, Christian Theological Seminary
It’s advent season and I’m not sure what I am anticipating any more. I’m not sure what exactly I’m even supposed to be waiting for. I wonder whether the birth of Jesus will really change anything for anyone this year, or not. Does the birth of Jesus mean anything if it means nothing to those who say it means the most? And by this I mean, does the birth of Jesus have any truth to it if it does not transform the hearts and lives of those who say it is most sacred?
In a world full of such great violence, two authors tell the story of Jesus’ birth, and yet they seem to experience this birth differently. Matthew tells us of a young family who is on the run from King Herod. The baby that is to be born is said to one day become King of the Jews. In Herod’s response to the news from the Magi, it is clear that Jesus is understood as a threat to Herod’s power. Jesus is a threat to Rome; its violence and its oppression.
In the same world, near the year that Matthew’s Gospel was written, Luke tells us a story of how God uses the undesirable, the weak, the poor, to bring about God’s purposes. God does not seek out those of great power or great privilege to usher in the Messiah. God does not go to Joseph, or the Magi, as God does in Matthew’s Gospel. Rather, God seeks the barren, elderly woman, a young, unmarried, pregnant woman, and an animal shelter to welcome the Christ into the world. The meek and the vulnerable are in the center of God’s love.
It’s advent season and I’m not sure what we are anticipating any more. In a world full of such great violence, I wonder what the birth of Jesus can mean for us today? Is the birth of Jesus a threat to racism, sexism, heterosexism, ethnocentricism, Islamophobia? Does it confront both indifference and hate? Is the birth of Jesus a call for us to turn our eyes toward the marginalized, the unexpected, and to claim that the One True God is the God of the Poor? I think this is a question we must deeply ask ourselves and ask others. Because if the birth of Jesus does not change how we treat others and view ourselves, anticipating the birth of Jesus has become another distraction to the liberating work of the God of the Poor.
Chase Tibbs is a student at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Chase was part of the New Faces of Ministry: Class of 2015.
About Christian Theological Seminary
Christian Theological Seminary is an ecumenical seminary with ties to the Disciples of Christ. CTS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each year, CTS offers up to 12 full-tuition scholarships (plus a 12,000 stipend!) to students who are committed to service and justice work.
CTS is recognized as part of the Seminaries that Change the World: Class of 2016-17. To learn more about CTS, visit their website at www.cts.edu, or view their Seminaries that Change the World Profile.