I have been struck this week with the incredible inclusivity of Advent. Consider the course of salvation chosen by God. He became a human. Let that sink in for a moment. Of all the possible ways God could redeem his creation, the one he chooses is the incarnation. He becomes one of us.
And how does he do it? He doesn’t walk out of the desert with power and glory. He doesn’t descend on a cloud announcing his arrival. He comes as a single cell in the uterus of a woman. For nine months he grows and develops a heart, lungs, fingers and toes. The Son of God has a belly button! He experienced the birthing process. He cried in the night for feeding. He learned to walk and had to be potty trained.
And he wasn’t born into a palace or privilege. He was born to a young girl and a carpenter, the working class. He was born beside the animals, sheep and donkeys. And when his birth announcements were sent, who received them? Shepherds. Men and boys watching sheep that probably did not belong to them. These are the ones to whom the angels announced the savior’s birth.
The inclusiveness of Advent is striking? Jesus became one of us. He shares our experiences. Consider how much honor this puts on simply being human. He came to the simple life of a working family surrounded by simple people. Rough men like shepherds. Foreigners like the wise men. A family struggling with infertility and doubt like Elizabeth and Zechariah. He was born, grew up, struggled and was tempted. He experienced joy and pain. He lost people. He experienced sorrow and fear.
It is incredible to me to consider what this means. The story of advent includes all of us. It is not a restrictive story. There are no prerequisites to be a part of this story. You were born. You are human, a part of God’s created order. Therefore, you are included in the advent story. Whether you follow Jesus or not, advent is for you. Whether you trust God’s goodness or you are filled with doubt, Advent is for you. Whether you have much or little, Advent is for you. If you struggle or the holidays bring deep sadness, Advent is for you.