The Season of Advent brings back wonderful memories and traditions for me and my family. Sitting around the table, lighting candles, reading the stories of Christmas from the Bible, and anticipating the big celebration to take place at the end of the four weeks. One of the hymns in our hymnal for this season was The Advent of our God.
The Advent of our God
Shall be our theme for prayer;
Come, let us meet him on the road
And place for him prepare.
I remember singing this as a child and thinking, “This is definitely speaking of a time for prayer and preparation, but why would we meet Jesus out on the road? What is he doing out there?”
You see, the church my family attended throughout my grade school years was just down a hill from the historic Lincoln Highway in New Haven, Indiana. So, whenever we sang that hymn, I imagined myself climbing that hill and meeting Jesus on the side of the road.
Maybe his car had broken down. Maybe he was hitchhiking as many people did on that highway. Or maybe he was thrown out of a passing car and left for dead by a gang of thugs.
Obviously, my imagination ran deep at the age of ten (and I REALLY liked the A-Team.)
It didn’t hit me until many years later that the metaphor in the song was about joining Jesus on his journey or what some might call his earthly pilgrimage. That Jesus had become incarnate and joined us in this world was beyond my full understanding when I was ten.
Today, I think I may need to go back and embrace some of those early memories of Jesus and not just spiritualize them or create word pictures to sing. Maybe we all need to meet Jesus on the road again. Just maybe, we need to seek Jesus out on the byways, highways, side streets, and dirt roads.
Jesus is the drifter going down city alleyways in search of food.
Jesus is the broken-down biker trying to figure out where life went wrong.
Jesus is the bearded man in rags standing with a cardboard sign that reads “Will Work for Food.”
Jesus is one of 20 individuals crammed in the back of a van trying to cross the border.
Jesus is the business woman on her cellphone in rush hour traffic.
Jesus is one of the kids playing a pick-up game of basketball on the cul-de-sac in your neighborhood.
The question is, “Do we see him out there?” and “Are we willing to meet him out on the road?” As we take a walk or run, or as we ride our bike or drive our car out on the roads this Advent, let each journey be an opportunity to meet Jesus in the people on the road and prepare a place to welcome Him into our homes and lives. Come, let us meet Him on the road.
Grace and peace, Pastor Bob+