If Israel had a guestbook the names that would fill it are the same names we read not just in our Bibles but also in our world history textbooks. Scripture records many arrivals in Palestine. From Abraham being the first of the biblical narrative to Joseph after the Exodus many people in the biblical story have arrived in that land. We could name more. We could name Ruth who came there from Moab or David coming back after fleeing from Saul. We could even mention Zerubbabel and the exiles returning from captivity or the Magi looking for the newly born king.
From a geo-political perspective we could name a host of other people including Titus who came to restore order to Palestine, having victory over Jerusalem and the temple some decades before Jesus was born or Alexander the Great a few centuries before that just to name a few.
The most important arrival to have ever happened there took place around 4 BC. Unlike any of the others who were note worthy and highly acclaimed for all they had done before they arrived in Israel, Jesus’ arrival wasn’t marked with fancy parades or victorious processions. When Jesus arrived he hadn’t yet done anything significant…nothing yet that would change the course of human history before he was heralded by angels, worshiped by shepherds and foreign dignitaries (aka Magi) and hunted by Herod.
The arrival of Jesus marked a turning point in history that was so significant that the date in the lower right corner of your desktop computer and on the screen on your smartphone reminds us of just how many years have passed since he arrived.
This month at Wineskins we will be talking about the arrival of Jesus…not just 2000 years ago but how he continues to show up today in so many ways that are just as real. In doing so we deepen and enrich our faith as we celebrate all that God has done for us through the gift He has given in Jesus the Christ.