December’s post is written by NazToo’s oldest member—let me rephrase that—Steve Fountain has been a member of NazToo longer than anyone else. He is a researcher, a teacher, a writer, a dreamer of dreams and a traveling man. The son of a Nazarene pastor, he is also the cofounder of Icebox Ministries and Icebox Urban Farm. He currently lives in North Augusta, SC, with his wife, Tasha Alison, and an ever-changing menagerie of livestock.
We publish our regular posts here at this blog every month, on the 1st—usually at midnight.
On December 1st, midnight came and went without a post.
It was around noon that I began to hear and see some questions arising. It was just curiosity at first, but within 24 hours its tone was more like frustration. “Where was December’s post?” “What’s up with the blog?” “Who’s running this thing?”
I was encouraged by the concern. And it illustrates a point.
Waiting can be uncomfortable.
You all had to wait a couple of days for a blog post and some of you wondered what was happening.
“Had something gone wrong?”
“Was there some mistake?”
“Was anything going to happen at all?”
Confusion turned to relief, I would hope, and anticipation to fulfillment, when on the third day, the first word broke the digital silence.
Imagine then, the experience of those who awaited not some trivial blog post, but the long-foretold Messiah—who would come in power and glory to save His people. To save the world.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent—a time of hope—a time of anticipation—a time of waiting—a time to look forward to the coming of Jesus—the incarnate one, the Messiah, God among us.
It is a time to remember the experience of those who looked forward in hope to a King who would bring justice and peace.
When that long-expected King arrived, he was found in the least expected of places.
Where he was least expected.
In Matthew 25: 31-46 (one of last week’s lectionary readings), Jesus talks about the coming of the Son of Man and what is sometimes called “the judgment of the nations” (the coming of the Son of Man is also the subject of Mark 13:24-37, in this week’s lectionary).
In the passage from Matthew we find Jesus telling his listeners that when the Son of Man comes in his glory, he’ll gather all peoples, all tribes, all the world, together, and to some he will say “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
And the response from the people will be like this, “When? When did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or sick or in prison? You weren’t even here yet.”
And Jesus says to them “just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
But the negative is also true—as others are told “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.”
And they ask the same question. “When? When did we see you hungry or thirsty or naked or sick or in prison? You weren’t even here yet.”
And the answer is similar. “As you didn’t do unto these least of these, you didn’t do it unto me.”
When did we see you? In the least of these.
As we journey through the Advent season, look for Jesus.
You’ll find him—where you least expect.