It can be challenging to come up with fresh approaches to the Advent Season year after year. Yet, the Glorious Event is so significant that it bears a fresh sounding of every note. In previous years, I have done the songs of Advent (Zechariah's, Simeon's, the Angels', Mary's etc), and the prophecies of Advent.
This year, my series focuses on the various reactions to Advent by the affected parties. I am fascinated by those God chose to be witnesses to the obscure event. One can see God's plan of salvation clearly revealed in whom he chooses to witness and announce the birth of his Christ.
The shepherds, for instance --the unclean people of the land, beloved in Scripture but derided by the establishment of Jesus' day. God loves the outcast and came to cleanse the unclean through his Great Good Shepherd. Shepherds, like women, could not testify in court. They were considered unrealiable. God chooses shepherds to bear witness to his incarnation, and women to bear witness to the empty tomb. God values what man despises.
Then, the angels, who speak of God's dual, intertwined purpose in the Incarnation: Glory to God, and peace among humanity. In the incarnation, God will vindicate his glorious purposes by setting into motion the reclamation of both humanity and his creation. God's glory and his creation's good are intertwined purposes.
Then, Herod. The kings of the earth rise up, rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed. Yet, God in Christ came to displace the wicked reign of the powers that be with the peaceable reign of his son. This troubles all the Herods of the world in Christ's time and ours --and it should, because Christ will one day assert his crown rights....
Then, the Magi. The Gentiles shall come to thy light... Christ's saving purposes extend to the nations.
Then, Mary herself. Her soul magnifies the Lord and rejoices in God her savior --exaltation and humility, submission and contemplation. Who is she that God should choose her? She is no-one, yet she bears the Son of God. Like her, we "carry" the Son of God, despite our low status. We bring God's glory into the world by the power of the Spirit.
The Advent of Our Lord was one of the signal events in God's work of redemption, and indeed in all human history. Let us rejoice!