"The image surrounding Jesus' birth is one that was formed from many years of Sunday School attendance. Commercialized seasonal cards reinforced it. It is one of bliss and tranquility. But the first four books of the New Testament tell a far more disturbing account.
It was a time of displacement. Families left their homes to comply with the census ruling. Jesus was born in an ad hoc shelter. His birth aroused King Herod's jealousy that led to the massive* killing of infant boys two years older and under. It was far from the Hallmark rendering of Christmas.
From the beginning, Jesus is acquainted with chaos, poverty, injustice, and death. ..." Lord of All pages 44-45
To extend us an invitation. To give us a gift.
To offer us the gospel.
"The prerequisite is confessing, "I can't." It is only when we arrive at this point that we can hear, "He can." It is a point of surrender and vulnerability. It can be terrifying. But it is the start of a journey that promises life in abundance. (John 10:10)
Because of the gospel, we have hope to entrust ourselves to what seems like silence because Jesus entrusted himself by taking his last breath into the silence of God.
Because of the gospel, we have hope to believe what Paul writes in his letter to the Roman believers, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Because of the gospel, we have courage to look death in the face and say with confidence, "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV) ... " Lord of All pages 52-53
* EDIT and CORRECTION. Paul Maier, historian affirms the killing of baby boys during the time of Jesus' birth (Matthew 2:16) but argues for a far fewer number; in fact, 12 or 15. www.desiringgod.org/interviews/truth-or-fiction-did-herod-really-slaughter-baby-boys-in-bethlehem
Advent, meaning "coming" in Latin is upon us