Advent Day Eighteen: The Victory Parade

“I have returned to Jerusalem with compassion; my house shall be built in it, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. . . Here is a man whose name is Branch; for he shall branch out in his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. . . Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion.  Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey .” (Zechariah 1:16, 6:12; 9:9)

Inauguration day is a celebration of a change of regime in the United States.  It is filled with ceremony, pomp, and celebration.  The new leaders are paraded through the streets to cheers and applause.  Everyone hopes that life will be better as all their expectations are realized.  But 100 days into the mandate, the political pundits are once again arguing about the failings of the government.

No one can ever grant everyone’s wishes, not even Jesus.  When he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the crowd believed that he would assume the throne as the Messiah prophesied in Zechariah.   Some saw an overthrow of Roman domination; others looked to a return of David’s throne.  None believed that he would submit to crucifixion by the end of the week.  We are reminded in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  It’s no wonder that Jesus is disappointing to those who want to control God like Aladdin and the magic lamp.

Mary’s response in the Magnificat summarizes it this way:  “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:52)

“LORD, we like to control the outcome of our life, but you don’t always give us victory in the way we imagine.  Humiliation and disappointment often set us on the way to the cross before you raise us up to a transformed life.  Give us the grace to trust in your wisdom and love.”  Amen.

Mindi Oaten’s painting “The Suffering Servant:  Healing Touch”is from God’s Garden of Grace collection. Dandelions represent humility.

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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