So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. – John 1:14
Today, late in a year that’s been racing along at a giddying rate, marks the first Sunday in Advent. In other words, the traditional season of expectation – or preparation for Christmas – is under way.
- (I love this time of the year so much I wrote a whole book about it – In My Heart I Carry A Star: stories for Advent. If you’re looking for a devotional book to read, day by day, a gift, or something to read with friends, I recommend the updated 2016 edition, just $11.99 at Amazon.)
Telling the Story:
Regardless of how Rebekah feels physically, Saturday afternoon we simply had to begin the process of decorating. So we cleaned like crazy, dusted every reachable surface, and pulled just a enough seasonal accenting down from the attic to get the ball rolling.
We’re keeping it simple this year, eschewing the usual tidal wave of Christmas bling in favor of more subtle reminders that point to the story. Because the story is all that really counts in the final analysis, and if I achieve anything over the next four weeks I want it to be a consistent and compelling rendition of the narrative, so that more people will be encouraged to enter into the story themselves.
You see it’s a story that’s also an invitation. It’s an invitation to live into God’s initiative as a participant, rather than stand on the outside looking in. Oh, it’s a beautiful tableau all right, but it’s not meant for pressing out noses up against the glass and moving on, it’s intended to be interactive; it’s intended for living.
The Greatest Story Ever Told presents a truth it’s all too easy to race past without even considering, in our frenetic compulsion to shop, decorate, shop, party, and shop some more between now and the helter-skelter countdown to Christmas Eve. And besides, if we have the Prince of Peace, if we understand the extent of God’s love, then we have everything – nothing else even begins to come close….
So welcome to this the first day of Advent. I’d like to invite you on a journey, a walk through December, a walk to Bethlehem, one hesitant footfall at a time till at last we reach the inn together, and enter into the courtyard to discover a manger, and there meet Jesus. Not to look into the scene from the outside, but to fall on our knees before the newborn King.
How silently, how silentlyThe wondrous gift is giv’n!So God imparts to human heartsThe blessings of his heav’n.No ear may hear his coming;But in this world of sin,Where meek souls will receive him, stillThe dear Christ enters in.