Formation

A Disruptive Incarnation: Reflecting on the Cost of Immanuel Drawing Near

Editorial Note: We asked Lisa Rodriguez-Watson, our National Director, to reflect on our autumn series on disruption through the lens of the Christmas narrative. Here is her beautiful, poignant response. Merry Christmas!


God Disrupts the World Through Incarnation

It was in this season some 2000 years ago that one of the most significant disruptions occurred. In the midst of 400 years of silence, which may have felt like abandonment to God’s people, God disrupted the silence with the cry of a newborn, the One who was long-awaited and sent to save the world.

God disrupted Mary and Joseph’s plans. Rather than a joyful betrothal, Mary and Joseph were thrust into a controversial pregnancy ahead of their marriage. But for a visit by an angel, Joseph would have quietly ended the relationship with Mary. Their story almost ended before it began, and it certainly didn’t go as they had dreamed. After Jesus’ birth, they faced another disruption that forced them to flee their country and take refuge in Egypt. Disruption plagues even our good and faithful plans.

God disrupted Mary and Joseph’s plans. Rather than a joyful betrothal, Mary and Joseph were thrust into a controversial pregnancy ahead of marriage. Their story almost ended before it began, and it didn’t go as they had dreamed. Click To Tweet

God disrupted the voice of Zachariah and caused him to be silent, to learn the ways of quiet trust and faith. Disruption is often uncomfortable.

God disrupted the darkness over the hills of Bethlehem where the shepherds, the discarded ones of society, were keeping watch over their flocks at night. With a whole company of angels, the stillness and darkness of that night was shattered by a resounding roar of angelic voices praising God and alerting the disregarded that there was good news of great joy for all people. Holy disruption disturbs oppression and liberates the downtrodden and disregarded.

It wasn’t just the disregarded that were disrupted, though. The wealthy wise ones, the Magi, saw a star that set them on a course from their far-away lands to bear gifts to the king of the Jews. What family and community plans were disrupted by the sudden appearance of the significant star in the sky? What resources were sacrificed to embark on a journey that had a relatively unclear destination and a completely unknown recipient? What weariness did they experience as they journeyed countless miles to pay homage to the long Awaited One? As these wise kings made their way to the Newborn King, bearing treasured gifts, what did disruption cost them?

Consider the dreadful cost to Jewish families in the vicinity of Bethlehem whose lives were disrupted by the systematic annihilation of their baby boys. What grief and lament for the many families who lost their tiny, precious sons at the hand of a wicked, jealous ruler!

The Promise of Incarnational Disruption in Our Lives

Tragically, this may be an oddly comforting reminder that even the presence of the Holy One doesn’t remove the sorrow of systemic sin and the grief of loss in the midst of good news and great joy. Because, still today, we are keenly aware of the injustices in our country and in our communities. Likewise we not shielded from the difficult realities of a world that continues to groan under the weight of sin and brokenness, even as we long for all things to be made new…for Jesus to come again.

The promise of disruption in the Kingdom is that despite the cost, there is a trajectory of justice and righteousness that has been and is being established. Renewal has come and is coming.

The promise of disruption in the Kingdom is that despite the cost, there is a trajectory of justice and righteousness that has been and is being established. Renewal has come and is coming. Click To Tweet

The Christmas story offers us hope amidst our disrupted lives. It reminds us that joy and lament can coexist. It reminds us that Love put on skin and flesh to be with us and to show us what love looks like. It reminds us that the Prince of Peace is the comforter to the disrupted and the disrupter to the comfortable.

The Christmas story is one of good news of great joy, and we are right to celebrate in this season. It is good for us to long for Jesus to come again in our lives in new ways. There is also an invitation to pay attention to disruption, to acknowledge the grief and cost of it; for we cannot live wholehearted lives with half-hearted truths about joys and sorrows.

As we make our way through the remainder of Advent, may we fix our eyes on the old familiar story, seeing it through the beautiful lens of disruption and pressing toward the joy, hope, love, and peace that is found in Him.

The Christmas story offers us hope amidst our disrupted lives. It reminds us that Love put on flesh to be with us. It reminds us that the Prince of Peace is the comforter to the disrupted and the disrupter to the comfortable. Click To Tweet

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