It’s the same Christmas story that has been told for over 2,000 years. In the Old Testament, we heard it from the perspective of the prophets; in the Gospels, from that of the disciples. Writers have imagined it from the perspectives of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and even the animals, and the star. It seems that we are always looking for a new spin on this most precious of stories. We want to keep it fresh. Relevant. We want to find a way to highlight the power, the majesty and the holiness of the night of Christ’s birth.
The challenge of Advent, the conundrum of Christmas is not in finding a new way to tell the story, but rather to find a new understanding of its meaning. The story itself is power. But how do we take that power from the pages of Scripture and appropriate it into our lives? We enter each Christmas season full of hope and anticipation that this year will be the year that makes a difference. And yet, there is something about the story of Christmas that eludes us.
I believe that the “something” that we can’t quite seem to grasp at this season is the fact that the Christmas story is not just the history of the birth of Jesus, it is not just the miraculous account of how God became a Man, The Man who would ultimately be crucified, buried and resurrected for our salvation. But the glorious promise that remains to be fulfilled for His children is that there is a future Advent yet to come.
Each year, we tend to focus on the past, when really, our hearts must be turned to our future. This is what Advent is really meant to do. It is meant to be a season of preparing for His return. We are meant to spend time in devotion, confession, repentance as we examine our lives for our readiness to meet Him, even as we celebrate this hope He has given us, this joy we have in knowing He is preparing a place for us, this peace He gives us in the middle of the most turbulent times in history.
Let’s commit this season to celebrate His birth, and to encourage each other that He is coming again, and coming soon.