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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Christmas Conspiracy

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

There’s something going on here, and it’s not what you might think. Not conspiracy theory. I’m not about that. More like prophecy being fulfilled. But even this begs explanation.

I’ve read just enough of the prophets lately to be cautious. Like I was telling Kyle’s brother, Brian, the night my husband came home from the hospital. “If there’s one thing we can learn from the story of the Bible, it’s that people don’t have a clue what the prophecy’s about.” I was three rungs up a ladder, hanging a favorite ornament on the higher branches of our Christmas tree. “I mean, the most religious people, the ones who memorized every word of scripture, weren’t expecting JESUS.”

If you know what I mean.

I’ve always been a little obsessed with Advent. My favorite season, minus the weather. And this year, the whole idea of Advent seems eerily relevant, doesn’t it? Or is this just me?

Of course, it’s partly about Baby Jesus. We count the days to acknowledge his birth. Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel. (Last week I pulled up an “Advent playlist” on Spotify, and no kidding, it was two dozen variations, by assorted artists, all singing this one song.) And don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Baby Jesus, and I am obsessed with GOD WITH US. My granddaughter, Maisy, is obsessed, too. She affectionately snuggles her other Grandma Mimi’s life-size lawn Jesus, and the other night when Maisy was here for dinner, she snuck a bit of Playmobile treasure behind the manger in our Fontanini creche. I watched her do it, quiet wonder of childlike reverence, prophecy fulfilled.

So yes, we light candles, and we count the days, and we wait for the Baby of Christmas.

But there’s more. Right? We’re waiting, too, for His Second Coming.

Which is where things get a little wonky. Most of us church-goers are good with the idea, but it doesn’t get much press in the general public.

Did you know this is the year of the “Christmas Star”? It’s actually Jupiter and Saturn, crossing paths, on December 21st—the evening of winter solstice. Apparently the last time this particular phenomenon occurred was in the year 1226. A very long time ago. And here we are, 2020, and the darkest night of the year, to boot.

“Maybe Jesus will come again this Christmas.” My mom-in-law made this suggestion the same day she’d baked all her holiday cookies. And then she quickly retracted. “No. It won’t happen when I’m expecting it.”

Most Christians agree He WILL return, but theories abound regarding the nature of Jesus’ Second Coming.

This morning I read Isaiah 42, followed by the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. Once again, I was strangely moved by the texts, filled with a sense of hopeful joy. And yet, I admitted right there in the light of my Advent candles—there’s more I DON’T understand, than do.

The difference between the first coming and the second, is the FIRST already happened. Brilliance, I know. But don’t we have at least this much advantage? To know the story, and to know this JESUS we’re waiting for? Prophecy fulfilled by our Messiah, and we can at least follow the clues.

Like the wisemen. Who followed that star…

One thing seems pretty clear. (Clear as we hope the sky might be next Monday. Which, by the way… Felipe, if you’re reading, you probably already know this, but down where you’re living on the equator, the view will be best.) I digress. Clear as 2020, at least, is this… When Jesus came as newborn king, and then proceeded to establish a Kingdom, it wasn’t what anyone expected. Scholars missed him, and shepherds (who I recently read were probably children) ran to greet him. Those with political leanings were sorely disappointed, but outcasts on the margins bowed at his feet. Romans called him The King of the Jews, but his very own people voted to kill him. His closest friend declared he was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and then quickly denied he ever knew him.

And those of us waiting for His second coming, can at least be following clues.

We ought to be eager. We also ought to be extremely humble. And likely, the best way to prepare ourselves for King Jesus’ future return, is to follow this King as if He is already here.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.”

Isaiah 42:1-9

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