My son faithfully prays over the sore, broken places in our lives, "Lord, we know that when You destroy something, it is only so that You can build it again more gloriously." So it was with the first Advent.
Joseph and Mary had their reputations ruined, their business uprooted to Bethlehem and then to Egypt, their family life disrupted, the guilt of knowing all those Bethlehem children died because of their child...Jesus' own initial loss in the Incarnation is staggering. Infinite divinity pressed into finite flesh. Gone the instant access to and awareness of the loving bonds within the Trinity. No distance from the shame and pain of fallen creation.
We are familiar with the concept that disobedience brings chastisement. But how about the notion that God's blessing often brings sorrow and destruction? What were David's losses when he was anointed King over Israel? He was hunted for over 20 years. And the first Joseph, what were his losses when his gift for interpreting dreams was discovered? He was enslaved in a foreign country for over 20 years.
The scale of the loss is the early predictor of the scope of the re-creation. But the first Advent shows us something new in this balance. Loss isn't the only thing great blessing brings. Right there in the heart of the sorrow is the special presence of Jesus. Fully identified with us in our shame and misery.
Joseph and Mary thought it was compensation enough even though they only glimpsed the Restorations. They held on to the joy in their arms, and lived in the future.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my
For He hath regarded the low estate of His
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call
For He that is mighty has done to me great
and holy is His name and His mercy is upon them that
from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strenth with His arm;
He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and
exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His
as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed