A few years back I had the opportunity to visit Wadena with a team from Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care. We toured the damage and it was appalling. We visited St. John Lutheran Church and saw the damage there. It was a sad and yet inspiring trip and to watch the community put itself back together was a wonder.
Today I heard that a manger scene somewhere offended some visitor from out of town and so it was removed, I assume by the city. Pretty sad. There was no room in the Inn and I guess no room in public life for Christ.
All this crazy stuff going on in the world should teach us to speak like the Old Testament Saints. That is was Advent is all about. It is a time to learn to say “our God comes” like the people of Old Did. They were not primarily thinking about the coming of a baby to Bethlehem to be born in a barn because there was no room any where else. They were not primarily thinking of Christ coming through Word and Sacrament even though there does not seem to be very much room for Word and Sacrament anymore either. They were hoping for kingdom of God, for the destruction of the powers of evil, for the abolition of sin and death, for the final manifestation of God to His people. This is what we still expect. The first coming, far from satisfying our expectation, brings more anticipation.
To see such hatred for such a simple thing in a visitor to a town that they would complain. For such fear in a city that they would remove a manger scene that I assume most of the members of the city appreciated to some extent simply shows the coming has been delayed for our salvation. Someday every knee will bow and tongue confess that Christ is Lord. God still waits on us. Waits for us to come to our senses. Waits on us through a Servant King who serves us with His forgiveness and grace and mercy. The Manger may be removed from public eyes, but it is still in the hearts of God’s people who continue to cry, “come Lord Jesus”.