Advent Devotions: Living Jesus

Advent 2015. Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: This Advent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).   

By Daniel Jihun Kim                

Luke 2:1-7

Isaiah 11:6-9

Last week in my church, I talked with church members about the reason for the incarnation: Why did Jesus come into this messy world? One of the people there offered one reason with a very serious face: “Jesus must come because of our sin; he came into this world for saving us sinners.” She went on: “We need to remember Jesus’ death during the Christmas season. We cannot waste our Christmas with Santa Claus and presents. It’s not about playing, but saving.” Her face and what she said have stayed in my heart until now. 

Did Jesus come into this world to rescue us as like a superhero? Pondering what the reason might be, I got this Scripture – Isaiah 11:6-9. The Jesus we meet in Christmas is not the Jesus who is on the cross, but the Jesus who is lying in a manger. This Sunday I will go to church and here is what I want to say: “My Jesus came into this world to live and play with me – to invite me to play in harmony with all creation – the cobra, lion, and ox. He wants to dwell and rest and lie down with us. As Isaiah describes, Jesus wants to make the world totally new – a place of joy – not of battle. In our living and playing together, our love will grow; the love will become bigger and bigger. Eventually, we will be able to give our life for our friend.”

We often skip this process. We think Jesus came into this world as a completed Messiah, but Jesus came into this world as a baby, just like every other baby, just like every one of us. And, as he grew, he gradually recognized his mission as Son of God, because he loved people so deeply. 

My utmost expression of love for my sons is spending time with them and playing with them, tickling them, hugging them, and holding them when they are hurt and sad. For me Jesus’ life is much more important than his death. Baby Jesus asks me to hold him and take care him. Child Jesus asks me to live and play together. Teenager Jesus asks me to commit a strong life in friendship together. 

This life we build together will make our love strong. That is the only way to give our life for each other. Hey, Friend Jesus I want to live and play with you, and commit my life to you. Happy birthday, my friend!

Daniel Jihun Kim is pursuing his Master of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary. 

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