It’s all about anticipation. Anticipation is the fuel of Christmas. Here, we commemorate the Advent calendar counting down the days to December 25, and in church, we light the Advent candles for four Sundays prior to Christmas. Even the word Advent is derived from the Latin word for arrival. It’s kind of like starting your birthday four weeks early by planning events to anticipate its coming. My wife would love that.
The secular world has a version of the same thing. In fact, I can’t think of one Christmas story that doesn’t in some way have Christmas hanging in the balance. Will Santa make it? Will the Polar Express get back in time? Will Kevin’s family find him by Christmas morning? Will Whoville still celebrate Christmas? Is Santa going to quit this year? Will the reindeer fly? Will the presents get out in time? Will the elves get their labor dispute resolved in time to get all the toys made? Did Ebenezer Scrooge miss it? Come up with as many ways as you can think of to stop Christmas from coming, and there is probably a story about that. Come up with a new one and maybe you can get a contract for your screen play.
This doubt and possible failed expectation plays well in a Christmas special, but it does not work in the real story of Christmas because the world is in too much real trouble right now to wait for a real savior.
I know we’re all waiting, but I’m going ruin the story by announcing that we don’t need to wait anymore. He came. That’s right; He’s already here. I’m doing this because this year, more than ever, we need Jesus — the baby born in straw poverty, the God/man who died for our sins and rose again, and sent His Spirit to live in us and give us the power to love, and forgive, and be gracious and kind in the face of hatred and adversity; and turn the grace He so freely gave us outward to everyone else. The world needs Jesus and that’s why it needs you. Now, more than ever, the world needs the Gospel of Welcome.
We’re not too sure about Santa this year. He may be getting too old, or maybe he’s just tired, or maybe the elves will go on strike, or Rudolf’s nose will go out; but regardless of what happens with Santa, rest assured that Jesus came — no one can ever take that away — and nothing has been quite the same ever since.
Each day we will post a question we encourage you to use in your own reflection, and in discussion with family and friends. We also encourage you to forward this Advent Catch to others. Take the opportunity of the season to spread the word.
ADVENT QUESTION (Marti wants to know…)
- For almost everyone, everything is in the balance. As believers we know God entered space and time as a baby, and pierced our lives through the presence of the Holy Spirit. That is quite a Christmas present. So, what are you going to give this Christmas? Who is waiting for your gift, counting down the days to Christmas, wanting more than anything to know the story is true?
- Post you comments below.
- Post and Tweet a question on your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
- Use #CatchAdvent.