Advent Reflections Day 14: Dreams of a better world

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1.32-33

Utopianism has a long history. It represents the dream of the perfect society. The Greek philosopher Plato set out his ideas for a perfect society in his work The Republic and throughout history people have debated and striven for a better world if not a perfect world.

Sometimes unfortunately the paths taken towards utopia have been pathways of death. It seems that when human beings set out to bring about the perfect world they leave a trail of corpses behind them. Whether it is Stalin engineering famines or Hitler and his final solution or Mao’s cultural revolution, the cost is on a frightening scale.

Yet despite the witness of history, there is something in us all that yearns for a new and better world order.

It might come as a surprise to some to find that God also yearns for a new world. And even the world itself is groaning for a better future; Romans 8.22-26 applies groaning to the Spirit, believers and the creation itself.

In the person of Jesus human aspiration and divine intention coalesce. He will have the throne of His father David. His kingdom will never end.

It is His kingdom. Established through His death and resurrection. It comes about when we receive the reconciliation with God that we are offered in the gospel. The prophet Daniel once interpreted a dream about a statue that was made up of gold, silver, bronze and iron. It looked impressive until a single stone came and completely shattered it. That stone, of course, represented Jesus.

Jesus is still in the process of building His kingdom. One day, it will finally be obvious to all that He is King of kings and Lord or lords. However, before He brings about the perfect world, he had to come in search of a lost world.

The angel’s words to Mary are a powerful reminder that the baby she carried in her womb, who was born that first Christmas, was greater than any king or ruler who ever had been or would be.

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