Because of our God’s deep compassion,
    the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
     to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
        to guide us on the path of peace.  – Luke 1:78-79

1-IMG_2004I have chosen this particular series of photographs because the images speak so concretely into my understanding of Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas). Advent is a journey, and for the magi – the wise ones – the trek was significantly more of a life-shaping commitment than hiking into town from the hills around Bethlehem in response to the instructions of an awe-inspiring angel and a spectacular heavenly choir.

We too are on a journey:

The journey for the magi was/is a lot more like the one we all take, day-to-day, as we make our way along the road toward Bethlehem and finally acknowledge, likely after some kind of a struggle, that the infant king, the baby in the hay, is exactly who we have always been looking for.

1-DSC_0798I love the way Rebekah interpreted the scene when she set up this year’s Nativity in our living room. The magi are depicted walking into the stable by stepping out of a picture frame.

It is as if their story – however many miles away they are and exactly what mile-marker they have reached along the way – is (at the right moment) exactly intersecting with the story of Jesus. And it is as if we too could climb into and through the frame and then kneel (like the young child in yesterday’s post) at the feet of Jesus because he is actually here, the moment is now, and his birth, the miracle of Christmas, is completely accessible and present today, here in December 2018.

The Implications for us:

1-IMG_1999-001

If we begin to understand any of that, if we are even vaguely able to comprehend the implications of Christ’s invitation when it comes to our personal journey, then the only possible place for every single one of us during these weeks leading up to Christmas Day is Church.

Because it is right here, among the living communion of redeemed but floundering saints, that we can find encouragement along the way and inspiration to continue our pilgrimage. We gather as followers of the Living Way of Jesus, we sing songs of praise to God, we pray for one another, and we celebrate the Advent of the birth of promise.

Because it is right here, among the living communion of redeemed but floundering saints, that we can find encouragement along the way and inspiration to continue our pilgrimage. We gather as followers of the Living Way of Jesus, we sing songs of praise to God, we pray for one another, and we celebrate the Advent of the birth of promise.

Christmas is about hope, it is about peace, it is about joy, and it is about love.

Hang around this space for the next few weeks and we will plan to journey together. Peace – DEREK

 

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