Who do we say Jesus is? Is he the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World? Or is he our genie who we pray to when we need help? Is he our Lord and King? Or is he a candy machine into which we dispense our good deeds and out comes our daily blessings? Is he the one and only way to the Father? Or is he one of many paths that we have chosen? Is he our Maker and Creator? Or is he more like our favorite uncle whom we love to hang out with but don’t respect as an authority in our life?
Walk into any store or business establishment this time of year and you’ll hear the familiar sound of Christmas carols. I was out shopping one day with my children and we heard the Christmas hymn, Joy to the World, playing from the store’s loudspeaker.
My son turned to me and asked:
“Mom, why are all the stores playing Christmas music about Jesus if they don’t believe in him?”
These weeks leading up to Christmas Day are known among Christians as Advent. The word Advent means arrival or coming. These weeks are meant to be a time of preparation as we anticipate celebrating the arrival of Immanuel, Jesus the Christ. During Advent, we focus our hearts on who he is and what he came to do.
The question is, what Jesus are we waiting for? What Jesus are we spending these weeks anticipating?
Everyone has an opinion about Jesus. If we were to ask the shop keepers who play Christmas tunes or the those shopping for presents at the mall, everyone would have some kind of response. Some would probably say that he was a good teacher. Others might say that he was a political leader. Still others might say he was a great healer or a holy man.
Even in Jesus’ day, people had opinions about who he was. “He asked his disciples,“Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:27-29).
Who do we say Jesus is?