Nativity scenes, at least the ones I have come across, are uniformly peaceful. There is much truth in that. The angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Yet we miss the heart of Advent if we miss the wildness. These are angels singing already, filling the night sky with their brilliance. The shepherds were terrified.
The three angelic annunciations, to Zechariah, to Mary, to the shepherds, all begin with, "Do not be afraid."
Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds all knew as well as we that angels do not appear to people. But here they were. Wild.
Far from being a paen of sweetness, the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise, is positively violent. "He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty."
Zechariah sang, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and has redeemed his people."
God is doing something. God is doing something big, really big.
He still is. Advent proclaims Jesus who has come and is coming.
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."
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