As wise men and philosophers thought about these things, hope burned in their hearts and made them devoted to him, whoever he was. And they began to pray to this mysterious Deliverer, asking that the Wonderful Counsellor would bring them light and truth, and conquer ignorance and errors in the world.
If only that day would come, when the majestic ability of the human mind would be revealed, and ignorant people would see all of its magnificence! The mind is the only thing great enough to warrant such an important position and the only thing appropriate to rule the whole world.
But year after year, wise men died like everyone else, and their children died after them.
A Deliverer had not risen up from among them, so they continued looking.
Some latched onto the title "Prince of Peace," and thought everything could be explained by that. The conquering mentioned about him must mean that he would conquer and overcome strife. The superiority of Love would overcome all desires for conflict and everyone would work towards universal joy.
Surely when this Deliverer came, he would be able to make everyone happy and pour a healing tonic on every wound. Then all old sadnesses would be forgotten, and people's frustrated minds would be calmed, no longer troubled with struggles and difficult effort.
If only that day would come when every man would be his own king and kingdom, and the songs of rejoicing that gladdened the golden age could be heard all over the world!
Isn't that what the prophets had said, and the poets had sung?
Then every person would have his own grape vine and fig tree to sit under, and there would be no more poor or rich people because everybody would be equal, and everyone would be happy.
But when could they expect this Deliverer? Where would he come from?
It would probably be in an unusually blessed part of the world, perhaps some beautiful, peaceful valley such as Cashmere, nestled among the mountains of India. He would undoubtedly be living among a community of simple, contented people in a perfect family who never experienced turmoil and lived in happy harmony with each other.
Such a person could only come from this kind of blissful, peaceful background--the kind of person who would cause harsh weapons of war to be turned into tools for farming the land, and would cause plants, animals and even rocks to join together in one general song of joy.
So those who took that view looked for the Deliverer in peaceful valleys and quiet places where no disagreement ever happened.
But they had no better luck--they kept on looking and waiting, and hoped Nature itself would confirm their hopes.
The non-living elements of the world became aware that some great event was going to happen. The earth, which had suffered and decayed under the ancient curse, listened to the whispered rumors. And every spring, as she dressed herself in beautiful greenery and flowers, a hint of the Mighty One who would restore earth's lost glories and make her young again was felt through every pulse of her.
Earth didn't care about mankind's different expectations about this Deliverer. "It's not important how He comes," she said, "whether as a king, or conqueror, or sage, or God. In my bloom and beauty, I'm making myself ready for his coming. This way I'll be worthy to meet my Lord and King! When he arrives, all the hills will leap with happiness, the valleys will laugh and sing, and the trees in the forests will rejoice!"
So every spring, the earth dressed herself in hope. Every summer, she glowed with golden anticipation. But many springs and summers came and went, and no Deliverer had arrived. And when the sap chilled and returned to the roots of the trees for winter, and the flowers died and the leaves fell from the trees, and a stillness like death came over the earth for a while, she wept tears of regret as she said her good-byes for the season. Yet she said, "when the new spring comes, there will be hope again." The earth repeated these words, but with the cold, lonely winter upon her, she didn't feel very confident and she showed no signs of hope. Only the evergreen trees could cheer her up. They said, "while you can't have anything better, you can at least enjoy us. At any rate, let our green needles remind you of the spring that's coming."
But men and earth were both on the wrong track.
Even while darkness was blinding the minds of men, and earth was locked in the deadness of winter, when common people were focusing their search on earthly palaces, and wise men were trying to find a clue in earthly wisdom, while those who lived for pleasure hoped that the Deliverer would usher in earthly delights--the truth was, God had chosen to use "the foolish things of the world to confuse the wise," and the weak things of the world to overturn the powerful things. God had chosen the common, unimportant things, and the things that are passed over so that "no person should have glory in God's presence."
You prisoners looking for hope, stop looking at grand, earthly wonders!
Turn away from the confidence of mere earthly wisdom!
Generations after generations of people had lived their lives and died, and the whole world was still lying in wickedness because "God, in His wisdom, did not allow the world to discover Him by using its worldly wisdom." And He doesn't call many people who are wise in earthly things, or powerful, or from important families.
And then, wonder of wonders, at an inn in a village, in the stable where animals typically sleep and rest, a tired young woman who had walked a long way laid down because she couldn't find room anywhere else. And listen to the crying of a brand new baby that came from inside that stable, unnoticed by the busy world outside!