Advent is an important season. But there is indeed a risk that our enormous focus on Christmas will make us forget the meaning of Advent. We hurry to get to the ham, the stockfish and the gifts and we miss what could have happened during the weeks before Christmas.
The first Advent we read about Jesus entering Jerusalem while the people sing Hosannah. This year I noticed two things in the story: Jesus rides on a donkey and it looks like He is crying?
A donkey is a small animal. If you try to ride on a donkey you will notice that your feet almost touch the ground. It is a big difference to ride on a horse, the way many kings in history have entered the cities. “See, your king comes to you… lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey, Zechariach prophesies 520 years before Christ (9:9). Jesus did not come as a king on a horse. He came humbly on a donkey to show that He “…lives in a high and holy place but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit” (Is. 57:15). This continues to be His attitude. He sees the pain, He sees the need and He comes down to our level to carry our pain.
In Luke’s version of the story about Jesus riding into Jerusalem it says that He cried when He saw the city: “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you. even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace” (19:41-42). Jesus, the Messiah, cries when He sees the city and the people – these who did not understand who He was and what He wanted to do with their lives. Jesus cries because the message does not hit home. My prayer for this Advent is that I would not miss what He wants to do, His will and whatever is on His heart. My prayer is also that my heart would be moved to minister to those that do not understand who Jesus is.
Advent is a meaningful time – keep eyes and ears open.