Third Monday in Advent: Santa Lucia Day

Today is Santa Lucia Day. An Italian saint who's fiancée turned her over to the government for being a Christian after she gave much of her wealth away to the poor, the Scandinavians identified with her because her name means light. And in the darkness of winter, light contains hope for getting everyone through the bleakness of nearly continual night.

Tonight we read Isaiah's description of the Messiah--the Savior King--in chapter 53. When the Christ did come, few recognized Jesus as the One who was prophesied to come save Israel. Most were expecting a strong, warrior ruler who would overthrow the Roman government, ushering in a Hebrew utopia. No one expected a humble servant who would usher in God's Kingdom which turned social norms upside down.

They should have known, however. Isaiah's description of the suffering servant would have been in their heads (if not their hearts). Isaiah describes a Messiah without beauty or majesty, unattractive in appearance, despised and rejected, suffering, crushed and led to slaughter. It is not the picture of a warrior king. Yet, that is what most were looking for, and so they missed Him.

As we wait during Advent, let us examine the image of the Christ we have in our mind's eye. Let us make sure it matches up with the Jesus of the gospels: the Jesus who touched the leper, healed the untouchable, hung out with the outcasts, lifted up the poor and oppressed, dined with sinners and served all.

Sometimes our ideas of God need a little illumination to help shed light on the misconceptions that have built up over the years. We may not have missed out on the Christ as many who walked with Him did, but we may be missing out on who He calls us to be as His disciples if we don't fully know who Jesus was. May the light of Santa Lucia's candles direct us to the Light of the World. And may we continually be illumined in knowledge of who Christ really is.

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